Low self confidence and self belief often lead to problems with positively holding our own or speaking up in certain situations.
If this impacts you and you wish you could be more assertive then read on.
The Passive Aggressive Assertiveness Pendulum
The easiest way to understand what being assertive is about is considering a passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour as all being part of a pendulum of response. There is the passive approach, where you do nothing and accept what is happening to you. If you have low self esteem and struggle to feel confident in yourself or your beliefs; if you feel uncertain of the situation or indecisive of your own opinion you might act in this way. This can often leads to feelings of resentment, a sense of insecurity and possible internal unexpressed or redirected anger.
Swinging in the other direction is an aggressive response, where you may explode, losing emotional control, which then may lead to feelings of guilt or remorse. This can happen when you have been passive in the past, or you have little regard for others or their opinions. An aggressive response can be a defensive behaviour of someone with low self esteem too!
Assertiveness is a balanced and objective approach in the middle of these two extremes that puts you on an equal footing with everyone else.
How to Be More Assertive
To be more assertive you need to feel comfortable with yourself. Working on your confidence and self esteem are very important as this gives you a good grounding and helps you to feel more self-assured about yourself.
The next aspect of being more assertive is to try to be more informed if possible. Not all situations will allow this as you won’t always have all the facts about something to hand.
Detach people’s behaviour from them as a person. If someone is behaving badly – or you are in receipt of criticism remember it is the behaviour that is wrong – not the person. Behaviour can stop or be changed.
Stay calm, assess the situation, consider the facts and be aware that you have every right to speak as the next person. That also means you respect other people’s opinions and allow them time to talk.
This is a very brief summary of how to be more assertive, but if you can approach difficult situations in this way you will find that you can be more assertive and this in itself will help you with your self esteem and confidence too.