Assertiveness is an extremely handy personality trait to cultivate and practice as often as you can. It helps ensure that you get what you need and that others don’t walk all over you. Some people, however, find it difficult to be assertive and stop bending over backwards to everyone else’s whim.
If you are one of these people, then you may find it hard to believe that you could ever change to become a more assertive person. The good news is that it is possible for anyone to become more assertive, and all it takes is three simple steps:
1) Realize Your Own Self-Worth
Your ability to be assertive relies a great deal on your confidence and levels of self-esteem. You don’t have to be arrogant in order to be assertive, but you do have to have a good sense of your own self-worth. You need to realize that you have the right to be appreciated for your time, your efforts, and even just your presence. You need to stop apologizing for yourself and feeling bad when others do things for you or whey you ask them to do things your way.
Being assertive doesn’t mean that you are bossy or commandeering. You should still be willing to listen to others and you shouldn’t be demanding that they only listen to you. Nevertheless, it is just as crucial that you give credence and importance to your own needs and ideas and that you don’t hold others above yourself.
2) Don’t Make Excuses for People Who Are Inconsiderate of You
On top of cultivating a greater sense of self-worth, you need to stop making excuses for people who refuse to recognize your self-worth by being inconsiderate of your time and efforts. If someone shows absolutely no regard for the fact that they may be bothering you, that they aren’t listening to you, or that they’ve offended or hurt you, then why should you keep acquiescing to their needs or demands?
Stop making excuses for people who don’t give you nearly the same level of thoughtfulness that you try to give them. If someone is always late to meet with you, then remind them firmly but kindly that you’d appreciate it if they could stick to your appointments the same way you do. If someone is bothering you when you are busy or doing work, then don’t be afraid to let them know that you’d be happy to talk to them another time but that it is important for you to focus and get your tasks done.
3) Practice Assertiveness Every Day
As with all skills, assertiveness is something that you need to work on every day in order to fully develop. Some days you may feel too meek to assert yourself and make your needs known, but it is important that you don’t begin acquiescing and bending over backwards for others just because you’re a little tired or a little stressed. If you get back into the habit of putting yourself second, then you’ll once again have to relearn how to put yourself first. If you need to take a few minutes away from everything to sit quietly and remind yourself of your self-worth, then do so. A quick attitude booster can help you face the rest of your day with a more assertive outlook.
It can be difficult for someone who is shy or for someone who experiences heightened anxiety levels to even think of being more assertive because they worry that it will result in confrontation. The truth is, however, that most people will respond positively to your new-found confidence as long as you’re not acting rude or bossy, but simply stating what you need and want. Don’t be afraid to find your voice. You are worth other people’s consideration and you don’t need to make excuses for those who don’t give you the consideration you deserve.