How To Become More Assertive
If you’re a person who doesn’t like confrontation, then we have something in common. I would rather let things slide then get into a verbal sparring with someone. And if the other person is a stranger it makes it that much more difficult because you never know how another person will react or if they’ll do something as drastic as pulling out a gun and shooting. I mean, think about it….people have been hurt or killed over toys….yes toys…during black Friday shopping. Not everyone can handle being told no and will tend to lash out at those who do.
Personally, I’m not afraid of people, I just would rather keep the peace. However, that’s not always the way to go. Here’s several reasons why:
1. As a mom and a homeschooler, most of what my kids learn come either from me, or what they experience while with me (or dad). And since I want to teach my kids to stand up for themselves, I had to make the conscience decision to model that assertive (but not aggressive) behavior.
2. You become more respected by your peers when you are honest about your truth if it’s done in the right way.
3. The more you let things slide the more unhappy you become. After awhile the frustration builds and eventually you let it out but not in a good way. It’s better to confront things head on than to continuously hold them in.
No matter where I am, I tend to be a magnet for cutters. Not those with sharp objects but rather impatient individuals who feel like their time is more valuable then mine. For instance, I’ll be waiting next in line at Wal Mart for customer service and an employee will come out of nowhere and open another register and say “I’ll help the next person in line” and then someone behind me will quickly move over to that register. Boy, that ruffles my feathers. There has even been times when an employee will come out of nowhere and actually tell the person behind me “I can help you over here.” I cannot even tell you how many times both those scenarios have happened to me as it seems to happen pretty often.
I use to just let it happen all the while fuming to my car…smoke coming outta my ears and my kids wondering what has changed my demeanor. But like the kid whose been bullied constantly for years in school and then finally decides to fight back….I’d had enough.
Now when this happens I make sure I say clearly, and loud enough to be heard “I’m sorry, but I was next in line.” This has drastically cut down on the excessive frustration and potential head explosion!
There are many other situations in which we need to make sure we are being heard but it should be done where it doesn’t come across as anger. In order to become more assertive, remember:
1. It’s not what you say but how you say it. It’s cliche’, but cliche’s are just truths that’s been told upteenth times. If we’d get them the first time they wouldn’t be cliche’s, would they? So say what you need in a calm, non accusatory or abrasive manner.
2. The Journey of a thousand miles begins with what? Yes, the first step….yet another cliche’ but what can I say? In order to become better at anything we have to first start somewhere. If you never start, how can you finish? It takes approximately 28 days to change a bad habit so you always have to start on day 1 and work your way up. The first time you do it you will feel so good that you’ll want to do it again. Just make sure you’re staying on the path of positivity and you should be good.
3. Stop worrying about what others are thinking. This one is a tough one because whatever we feel someone must be thinking has to be true. Any action we interpret must be true as well. If someone frowns at you while you’re at the library and you’re toddler is singing “Da..Da…Da…Da..Dora!” at the top of her lungs then that must mean they think you’re a bad parent. Nevermind the fact that although body language can tell us a lot of a person….we aren’t mind readers. What we think someone is thinking is hardly ever the reality of the situation. There are other things that have to be taken into consideration when using body language as a form of communication…and you have to know what they are in order to be accurate. Which leads me to my next point….
4. If you’re offendable then you’re not dependable. We’ve got to really stop allowing minor offenses get our panties all up in a bunch. Time to toughen up and get thicker skin. Let it go!
So ladies, stop being so polite and let’s make it a point to become more assertive in our dealings with others. Not for the sake of getting our way but because we need to make sure we are heard.