Confidence Building: How to Be Assertive On Your Everyday Life

Assertiveness is one of those qualities that are necessary to live a good, happy and successful life, no matter what you decide to do.

I myself have built a reputation for being an assertive person, and it has allowed me to succeed on my own merits. However, assertiveness is often perceived as a negative, especially if you’re a woman.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called “difficult”, which is often used as a synonym for “assertive”, except that it’s meant to be insulting.

Somehow I’m supposed to feel bad for being “difficult”, which actually means being strong and having the courage to fight for my visions.

As I get older, I get more assertive, and I continue to work on it because I recognize the value it has both in my career and in my personal life.

I’ve learned that success is not possible if you allow people to walk over you, so I wanted to share a few tips on how to be more assertive in your everyday life. This way, you can nurture this quality and make it a part of who you are!

1. Start Small

Assertiveness is a habit you need to work on, and just like any other, it’s best to start small. Practice assertiveness with little things at first.

Such as deciding where you want to go to dinner, asking to be seated at a different spot at the restaurant or asking the waiter to make some changes to your plate if want to add or take something away from the dish.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re not open to suggestions or that everything has to be your way. But it’s a good way to practice making yourself heard!

Do this every day and in every aspect of your life. Decide what you want and do everything in your power to get it. Then you’ll be able to tackle more tense situations whether that’s at work or in your personal life.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

When you want to be assertive, it’s important that you set clear boundaries for the people around you. The problem with pushovers is that they always try to accommodate everyone and they forget about what they want to accomplish. This is because they don’t set limits and boundaries for people.

You need to understand that you are the one who decides how people treat you and what kind of behavior is permissible around you. Passive people let others determine those boundaries, and active people make them quite clear.

When I say you must make your boundaries clear, I don’t mean sending everyone a memo. What I mean is taking action. For example, if someone in particular speaks in a condescending way to you and just assumes that you will do as they say, you should speak up for yourself. Say you don’t appreciate the tone and that you’re under no obligation to disrupt your life and activities for their sake.

This doesn’t mean you should never help anyone with anything, it just means recognizing when someone is taking advantage of your good nature and set the record straight.

3. Say No When You Mean No

Part of being assertive is knowing what you don’t want. So, say no when you mean no. It’s important that you set limits and boundaries, especially in your work relationships. This will ensure your own desires and goals won’t be put before someone else’s.

4. Express Yourself

It’s important that you learn how to express your needs, thoughts, and feelings in a useful way. Especially in the workplace!

No one can read your mind, so always be clear about what you want. Be honest, specific, and respectful.

An example can be something as simple as ordering a sandwich. You don’t just order a sandwich and expect the waiter to know what you want; you order a “ham and cheese on rye with tomatoes and lettuce.” It’s that simple!

5. Exercise the “I”

Many of us couple assertiveness with hostility. And yes, assertive people can sometimes come across that way, but that’s only because they have energy and conviction.

One way you can be assertive without coming across that way is by exercising the “I”. Make it a habit to say “I feel...”, “I think...”, “I believe...” when you’re making suggestions instead of being aggressive by saying things like “You never...”

If you use that kind of hostile language, the conversation will be over before it starts because the other party will feel eliminated.

6. Let Go Of The Guilt

Being assertive means letting go of the guilt often associated with fighting for what you want, regardless of other people. Assertiveness is all about advocating for yourself, and this can be difficult if you’re used to pleasing others before yourself.

Understand that it’s okay to be selfish; “selfish” is not a dirty word and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about anyone. It means you care about yourself and your values, as it should be.

7. Be Open to Suggestions and Criticism

A big part of being assertive is learning how to accept suggestions and criticism. I’ve written about criticism in the past because it’s something that we all must learn to deal with. Whether said criticism is positive or negative, you should always be able to graciously accept it.

If someone suggests something useful, accept it and figure out how to apply it to your life. The same goes with constructive criticism! Whenever you don’t agree with suggestions or criticism, just receive them and don’t show anger. Simply analyze it, understand why they’re wrong, and move on.

8. Understand You Can’t Control How People Feel

One of the most difficult things about assertiveness for some people is that they’re afraid of hurting other people’s feelings. But here’s the thing: you simply aren’t responsible for how people react to your assertiveness.

If they get hurt, angry, or start resenting you, that’s really not something you can fix for them. They’ve made the choice to act that way. There’s a big difference between being respectful of others and feeling responsible for their feelings!

Confidence Building

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