Many people – to be nice – put things off or do things that they don’t want to do.
For example, they might be afraid to tell their friend that they are watching their weight and will have to pass on dessert. They don’t want anyone to be upset with them.
Some of us believe that being more assertive will damage our relationships, but what about our most important relationship – the one that we have with ourselves?
At work, not speaking up can cause problems such as missed opportunities, or a lack of diverse and creative ideas. Falling into a pattern of staying quiet to keep the peace is supposed to make us feel secure, but it does quite the opposite.
When we are not being true to ourselves, it’s the biggest threat of all.
No doubt, we are all making sacrifices in light of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s important to take stock of those sacrifices and to make sure that you are striking the right balance so that you are not placing your own weight loss efforts at risk. Please read the following list and take note of where you are on a scale of 1-5 with each one. (1 being in control and 5 off the mark.)
Your score will act as a signpost, both for the changes you should make and the direction of those changes.
9 Top Tips To Greater Assertiveness
- Become more self-aware: When you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself if your boundaries are being pushed, or if you are agreeing to something you don’t want to do/or if you are nodding in agreement to something you definitely do not agree with. Define what is taking place. Take time to reflect if you feel confused. Take the space and time you need, and then respond.
- Take responsibility for your own emotions, nobody else’s: if someone else is upset, it’s not your fault, even if you feel you ‘triggered’ it. We’re all only responsible for our own feelings. Sometimes we have to say difficult things that are truthful and there may be a negative response (ie. another’s anger) but we can’t take responsibility for those feelings, only our own.
- Strive for honesty: being true to yourself, feels better and is actually kinder to others – they then know where they stand. Try to speak your truth, from the heart, and don’t be afraid to offend or upset someone.
- Accept that some confrontation is unavoidable (and even essential): it’s impossible (and unhealthy) to expect to go through life without some disagreement with others. If you are sick and tired of being ‘a walk over’, then now is the time to act differently. All it takes is a little honesty and a bit of bravery. That simply means expressing your opinion/feeling on something in a way that is respectful not just to others, but also to yourself.
- Focus on a good relationship: think of a relationship you have where you find it easy to be yourself and to express your views – it may be with your partner, a friend, sister, brother, parent or colleague. Consider how it is different to another relationship where you feel under threat. Could you draw on that positive relationship and transfer similar responses to the one that is challenging? People who value you enough can tolerate disagreement. A healthy relationship is one where everyone’s views can be expressed and respected.
- Use the ‘I”, rather than ‘you’: using ‘I’, rather than ‘you language sounds less confrontational. Try saying, ‘I have a different opinion to you’, rather than ‘You are wrong’. Or, instead of saying, ‘You’ve gone and made that cake now and I’ll feel guilty if I don’t try some’, say ‘I really appreciate the offer of cake, but I’m sticking to my healthy eating plan, so no thank you’.
- Ask for help: some women and men who do everything in the house after a long day at work say how tired they are and, understandably, they become resentful. The new, assertive way is to speak up and ask partners and/ or children to help. This approach is actually much fairer to the people around you, as opposed to you being grumpy and feeling frustrated a lot of the time.
- Before a confrontation: if you know a confrontation or difficult converstion is approaching, your body language is key, as is a firm, confident tone of voice.
- Show yourself compassion after a conflict: be proud of yourself for speaking your truth – it takes bravery. And remember that it’s better to tolerate being on the receiving end of someone’s anger than bending over backwards after accommodating everyone else’s wishes. In the longer run, you’ll be much better off, both emotionally and even physically because, finally, you are putting yourself first.
Anxiety and stress are seldom far removed from a low level of assertiveness and it’s easy to see why. The good news is that anxiety and stress disorders are actually highly treatable – despite this, the figures suggest that only around 40% of those suffering seek treatment. Let’s put an end to suffering in silence and do something about it. Download our free eBook -Understanding Anxiety & How To Successfully Deal With It.
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