How to be more assertive in 5 simple steps

Many people hold themselves back from getting what they want out of relationships or jobs because they’re afraid to be assertive with their preferences. These kinds of ruts can be broken out of; it just takes time and effort to do so.

Hopefully these recommendations can help you break out of your rut and find the self-confidence you’ve been yearning for.

1. Realize where changes are needed and believe in your rights: Many people recognize they are being taken advantage of and/or have difficulty saying “no.” Others do not see themselves as unassertive but do feel depressed or unfulfilled, have lots of physical ailments, have complaints about work but assume the boss or teacher has the right to demand whatever he/she wants, etc. Nothing will change until the victim recognizes his/her rights are being denied and he/she decides to correct the situation. Keeping a diary may help you assess how intimidated, compliant, passive or timid you are or how demanding, whiny, bitchy or aggressive others are. One may need to deal with the anxiety associated with changing, to reconcile the conflicts within your value system, to assess the repercussions of being assertive, and to prepare others for the changes they will see in your behavior or attitude. Talk to others about the appropriateness of being assertive in a specific situation that concerns you. If you are still scared even though it is appropriate, use desensitization or role-playing to reduce the anxiety.

2. Learn how to give and receive compliments: One of the easiest tips on how to be more assertive I could give you is to encourage you to give more compliments and to learn to accept them too. If you usually think that somebody compliments you only because they must want something from you, you couldn’t be more wrong. That’s not always the case; there are people out there who are only being nice, just like you. Accept and enjoy the compliments you receive! It will surely boost your self-esteem.

3. Don´t try to change other people: I know that sometimes, especially when you feel betrayed, you may want to change the people around you, but despite all those feelings, you must always keep in mind that that’s just not possible. The only one who can really change is you! When your shyness or your anxiety may prevent you from standing up for your beliefs, other people may take you less seriously or they may even take advantage of you. You must not despair though! You can always learn how to behave in a more assertive way and you will see how easy it is to feel more respected.

4. Keep a journal or spreadsheet: This is where you’ll keep notes about your attempts at being more assertive, and what the end result was. Write down setbacks as well as successes, and be honest about what it is you’ve learned. If you find that being assertive is going easier than you’d thought, you might end up over-confident to the point where you become aggressively assertive when a neutral stance is more suited to the situation. Don’t allow assertiveness to turn IGNORE INTO arrogance or dominance.

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