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How Can I Be More Assertive? 12 Simple Steps

Being more assertive doesn’t mean being a bully or being rude, it means being more direct about what you need, want or feel. You can go about doing this in a respectful way, without hurting the feelings of others and without building up resentment.

Assertiveness is a valuable communication skill that, when built correctly, can help you become more confident and improve your relationships in both a professional a personal environment. We reached out to experts to find out the steps required for becoming more assertive.

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#1 Start Doing Mirrorwork Every Day

These are positive affirmations you say to yourself in the mirror. This is one of the quickest ways to boost your self-worth. Tell yourself you love yourself and that you are worthy and complete.

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from JaimePfeffer

#2 Stop Your Inner Critic From Sabotaging You

A lot of times, people who are unassertive have harsh inner critics in their heads. Monitor your thoughts for a day or two and see how you talk to yourself. If you can change the way you speak to yourself, you will definitely start seeing the people around you treating you differently. It is a spiritual law. As above, so below. As within, so without.

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from JaimePfeffer

#3 Walk With Confidence

Start walking and carrying yourself with confidence.  Put your shoulders back, hold your head high, and fake it 'til you make it. Research shows acting as if 'you can' can signal your brain to develop confidence - even if you don't have it yet.

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from JaimePfeffer

#4 Break The Habit Of Being Overly Nice

Remind yourself why you are being more assertive.

It's hard to break the habit of being the overly-nice person, especially if you have been that way for your whole life. But, knowing the negative impacts of being too passive will help you to justify being more vocal about your needs. Remind yourself that being assertive doesn't mean you need to be a bully or that you can't still be a nice person. In fact, being more assertive makes you a nicer person in the long run by avoiding the bitterness and resentment that passive people tend to carry.

It's going to feel weird at first, but that is okay.

Contributors: Dr. Sal Raichbach from Ambrosia Treatment Center

#5 Build Confidence

The biggest obstacle in becoming assertive, for me, was believing that my opinions and comments mattered. Many times I thought that my two cents wouldn't make a difference or that I was the only one that felt a certain way about a project or plan.

Contributors: Melissa J. Breyer from The Hive Law

#6 Know Your Boundaries

Being assertive begins with knowing what you will and won't do. People who aren't seen as assertive are commonly known as the yes man or the pushover. Knowing your boundaries and making them known is one of the best ways to flex that assertive muscle. Be clear in what you want (and don't want).

Contributors: Melissa J. Breyer from The Hive Law

#7 Communicate

Assertive people say what's on their mind. They are open about their likes, dislikes, and everything in-between. Communicating with friends and co-workers is the best way to make sure they know exactly what you need and when you need it. Relying on people to read your mind will leave you disappointed. If you need something, tell them. If you disagree, make it known.

Contributors: Melissa J. Breyer from The Hive Law

#8 People Learn How To Treat You Based On What You Accept

Being assertive can be hard for some but it is something that can be strengthened with effort. A part of being assertive is not allowing people to continue to treat you in a way that belittles or degrades you. The longer you allow this type of behavior to occur the harder it can be to become to be more assertive. However, if you take the time to take small steps for instance not saying maybe when you really want to say no or telling a person how you feel the minute it happens then you will get there a lot quicker.

Contributors: Maria Tolliver from Itsmariamaria

#9 Understand What you Want

When being assertive, most of the time it is to get something that you want, or to say no. I think the most important aspect of being assertive is understanding what its going to take to get what you want and how to manage expectations of those that can help you get there.

In short, if you ask for something or say no to a request, make sure you can back up your intentions with a justification that is reasonable demonstrates that you understand other parties' perspectives.

Contributors: Emily Clifford from Fueled

#10 Don’t Be Rational

Trying to be rational with angry or aggressive people always backfires because they are emotional. You must learn to deal with the emotions first. Every time you try to justify, explain, or rationalize your actions, you give your power away. You cannot ever solve an emotional outburst with logic.

Contributors: Doug Noll from Noll Associates

#11 Ignore the Words

The secret to dealing with emotions is to ignore the words and learn how to read emotional data fields. Every human sends out data about his or her emotional experience in the moment. We have to learn how to read that data field and reflect back the data to de-escalate the anger. 

Contributors: Doug Noll from Noll Associates

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Written by Ben Skute

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