7 Signs That You’re Not Assertive Enough
When I say why assertiveness is important, do you mildly scoff and think ‘This just how I am’? Well, maybe. Your parents may have raised you to be accommodating and to put the needs of others first. Or perhaps God created you with a gentle, meek, and mild spirit.
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Of course, realistically, there is some fear in those struggling with healthy assertiveness. Indeed, there’s a limit to how accommodating you can be without harming yourself. And frankly, those around you.
Eventually, you start to feel like others are taking advantage of you. At the same time, you worry that others will be upset if you refuse a request. It’s an uncomfortable predicament.
I’ve been deeply hurt by my non-assertive friend. She was so terrified of communicating about anything negative that she chose to throw a ten-year friendship away rather than have an open and honest conversation.
Most folks that consider themselves meek as opposed to assertive take pride and comfort in this.
They talk about being peacemakers and hating confrontation.
However, refusal to stand up for yourself and communicate in love is the opposite of peacemaking. You hurt yourself, and you hurt those who love you. This is why assertiveness is important.
I do apologize if I am stepping on your toes. If I am describing you to some degree, take heart. Recognizing a few key things can help you step forward in who you are and let go of some of those beliefs that are holding you back.
Assertiveness is a part of maintaining good mental health and balanced life. It’s important to have boundaries and give your own needs the priority they deserve.
Could you stay safer and happier by becoming more assertive?
Watch for these signs:
You can’t say no – Assertiveness is Important
When you can’t assert yourself, you say “yes” a lot more than you want. You find yourself feeling like a victim because you think you’ve been pushed into doing things you don’t want to do. After all, it’s their fault for the asking, right? No, it’s your fault for failing to say the simple word, “No.”
Use your voice and freedom of choice to refuse requests that are inconvenient or disagreeable to you. No one can agree to everything. It’s okay to consider what is best for you.
Why is assertiveness important? You fear rejection.
You can counter this fear by working on your self-confidence. The less you worry about rejection, the more assertive you’ll become.
Ultimately, this is the primary reason most people aren’t assertive. The fear of rejection is among the strongest acquired concerns.
Your needs are consistently unmet. Another reason why assertiveness is important.
Are you wishing that others will be as nice as you are and look out for your best interests? It doesn’t work that way. When you’re too accommodating, people lose respect for you. Subsequently, they have little concern for your needs.
Ensure that you’re meeting your own needs. If you can get others to help, so much the better.
Accepting responsibility is challenging for you.
Those that struggle with assertiveness often avoids taking responsibility. Can you accept criticism and compliments? If not, you’re probably not very assertive. The more we look at this the clearer it becomes why assertiveness is important. There nothing altruistic about being passive.
Enhancing your self-confidence is among the most effective ways to increase your ability to accept responsibility. The result is a more exceptional ability to be assertive.
You avoid conflict at all costs.
Are you unwilling to confront someone that is mistreating you? Would you rather have (artificial) peace regardless of the sacrifice?
Conflict is a normal part of human interaction and should be expected from time to time. It’s a necessary part of reaching a consensus and resolution. Learn to embrace conflict and appreciate what it can accomplish.
You say, “I’m sorry” more than you should.
There are times that apologies are appropriate. However, there is no reason to apologize constantly. This can be a difficult habit to break. I continue working on it.
Attempt to go one entire day without saying that 2-word phrase. Notice how challenging it can be. Keep track of how many times you’re tempted to apologize. Remember all the reasons why assertiveness is important and choose to change this habit.
You’re hesitant to share your opinion.
When you’re going out with friends, do you ever choose the bar, restaurant, club, movie, or other destination?
Let others know what you think. If you’re honest with yourself, you have an opinion on everything. You may not have a strong preference most of the time, but you can still share your opinion.
Why is assertiveness important? Because it is being real and authentic. Assertiveness means sharing your thoughts and opinions. It also means making yourself a priority.
Without sufficient assertiveness, your self-esteem and life suffer.
Boost your self-confidence and try to be more assertive. You’ll find that life is more natural, and you’ll gain the respect of your peers.
Why Assertiveness is Important
Many people confuse assertiveness with aggression. There isn’t anything wrong or aggressive about open and honest communication when done appropriately. You’re merely clarifying your needs to another person.
- Assertiveness is being able to express your feelings while still respecting the opinions of others.
Benefits of Assertiveness
Assertiveness is an essential skill that can significantly reduce the amount of conflict in your life if used appropriately. Assertive people tend to see that their own needs are met in a timely fashion and therefore are healthier individuals with much less stress.
Additionally, developing some necessary assertiveness is a crucial start in embracing personal protection. We have to push out any timidness that would stop us from defending ourselves. It can take practice, muscle, and mind work.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, passive people can see themselves as victims and may become resentful and angry until one day they explode. They leave the marriage or friendship without ever communicating openly.
To help you avoid piling up resentments, I’ve compiled some techniques you can use to become a more assertive person.
More Tips to Help You Become More Assertive
We all need space, or what Dr. Cloud calls “property lines”, in our relationships. These lines set healthy limits in a friendship, and make sure people don’t throw their “trash” into your yard (figuratively speaking) or try control what you do and how you live. These are not walls: they are permeable. Ideally, we open our boundaries to let in good relationships, but we close them to keep out to threats and danger.Dr. Carolyn Leaf
Stick with the facts. When confronting someone about a problem, instead of exaggerating the situation by saying, “You ALWAYS (or NEVER) ______” simply state the facts of the current case.
- For example, if a person is habitually late, instead of telling them they’re always late, mention what time they arrived and what time they had agreed to be there. The discrepancy will speak for itself.
Begin with “I” instead of “You.”
When you start a confrontation with “you,” it seems like an attack and usually puts the other individual on the defensive. Beginning with the word “I” brings the focus to you – how their behavior has affected you and how you are feeling.
Rather than criticize the other person, show the people in your life how their actions affect you.
Maintain a confident posture. Letting others see your confidence helps you to assert yourself.
- Stand up straight
- Look people in the eye
- Stay relaxed
- Speak clearly
- Respect the other individual’s personal space
Think of two people: one who is slumped over and unwilling to look at your face and the other who is standing tall and commanding respect. Which one would you be drawn to?
Use a firm, pleasant tone of voice.
Being assertive doesn’t mean raising your voice or getting emotional. Keep your responses short and direct. There’s no need to make excuses or justify your answer.
You may be surprised to find they aren’t the heinous person you thought they were!
Yelling only instigates more anger and possibly even violence. Speak your mind, calmly to keep everyone calm.
Don’t assume that you already know the other individual’s motives.
Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you might not know all the details of what’s happening in the life or mind of the other person.
Listen and then ask questions.
Instead of concentrating on how right you are, remember to listen to the other person’s point of view.
- Try to understand where the other person is coming from and ask questions to clarify any concerns you might have.
Compromise. You may need to compromise to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.
- The best solution is when both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
Evaluate. Every situation is different, so you’ll need to assess the circumstances to determine how much assertiveness is appropriate.
Acknowledge your successes. Being assertive may not go well in every situation, but you can always learn from your mistakes and do something differently next time.
- Acknowledging your success brings you the confidence to continue asserting yourself.
Occasionally, you may feel guilty about asserting yourself because you can feel selfish to speak up about your own needs. Just remember that you, too, deserve to be treated with respect. This is why assertiveness is important. Only you can teach people how to treat you. Only you can do the best job of taking care of yourself.
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