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How To Become More Assertive Easily

How To Become More Assertive Easily

Whether you consider the workplace or the home, assertiveness is a skill that can boost self-esteem and earn the respect of those around us. It can also help us to set and maintain boundaries in respect of how we are treated by others, while there is even evidence that assertiveness helps with the process of stress management. This is especially applicable for those who take on too much responsibility and are unable to say “no,” as it equips them with the tools to communicate honestly with colleagues, partners, and bosses alike.

With this in mind, what simple and practical steps can you take to become more assertive in everyday life? Consider the following five ideas.

1. Challenge your Perception of Assertiveness

This is an important starting point for your journey, as studies have proven that we are exceptionally poor judges of our own assertiveness. As a general rule, we tend to view others as under-assertive and reflect on ourselves as being either overly aggressive or pushy. A study by SAGE confirmed this, revealing that 38% of respondents felt that they had been overly assertive in a particular situation despite the reassurance of their partners. This is known as the “line crossing illusion,” and it explains why so many of us struggle to be assertive even in circumstances where it is necessary.

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This understanding is crucial, as it creates greater awareness surrounding the concept of assertiveness and enables us to appraise individual situations and the actions of others in a more informed manner. As a result, our responses are likely to be well-measured and suitably assertive depending on the circumstances involved.

2. Develop Various Methods of Expressing Yourself and Your Opinion

Once you have begun to understand the nature of assertiveness and challenge your perceptions of it, you can explore non-confrontational methods of expressing your thoughts and your opinions. This is fortunately easier than ever in the modern age, given the popularity of blogging and the fact that online streaming sites such as YouTube receive in excess of one billion unique visitors each month. These mediums are not only easily accessible, but they also enable you to share your opinions with a vast audience without having to encounter direct confrontation.

In addition to this, you can also begin to express yourself through a handwritten journal or diary. This is an even simpler way of expressing and asserting yourself, while it offers a completely private and secure medium for one-way interaction.

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3. Begin to Assert Yourself in Conversation and Through Interaction with Others

Once you are more accustomed to expressing yourself and your unique opinions, the next step is to assert yourself in everyday conversation and through interaction with others. It is crucial that you start slowly, however, initially by setting yourself a series of low-risk challenges that enable you to practice being assertive on a daily basis. These can vary depending on your circumstances, but common examples include ordering your own food at dinner, praising colleagues in the workplace, or holding court and sharing real-life experiences with friends during a social occasion.

These exchanges are considered to be low-risk as they will solicit either a positive or a nondescript response, as this will gradually help you to develop your confidence and create an aura of authority. From here, you can begin to challenge yourself with higher risk activities, such as returning any faulty items that you have purchased or sharing negative feedback with a colleague. As you progress, keep a daily journal of your progress and highlight specific areas of communication that require improvement.

4. Speak Clearly at all Times

One of the main issues with being assertive is your ability to communicate directly with others, especially in challenging circumstances where negative feedback is being shared. This can cause us to speak in an accusatory manner in some instances, whereas in others we may find ourselves talking too quietly in a subconscious bid to avoid confrontation. Either way, there are some simple techniques that you can use to improve the words and the tone that you use when asserting your opinion.

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Firstly, consider using what is commonly referred to as “I” messaging. This simply involves sharing your opinions and thoughts from a first-person perspective, rather than highlighting what you believe others have done to contribute to the situation. This minimises the risk of offending others and lays the foundations for a more serene and productive conversation. As you continue to focus on your own feelings and opinions, you can simplify the communication process, avoid aggressive confrontation, and subsequently ensure that your tone stays neutral and at an audible level.

5. Practice, Rehearse, and Target Specific Behavioural Issues

By now, you should be at a point where you are demonstrating more assertive communication skills on a daily basis. You must also commit to this over a concerted period of time, as you practice and rehearse these communication skills with diligence, focus, and consistency. You should continue to practice in front of the mirror, as while this may seem a little excessive, it enables you to reinforce the importance of assertiveness and refine your communication skills further.

You may also want to work on specific areas for improvement, as these may be behavioural traits that are a little harder to change. Let’s say that you are prone to apologise excessively, even in instances where you are not at fault. If this applies to you, you will need to pay particular attention to this and focus on rehearsing relevant scenarios with friends and conditioning your responses.

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Featured photo credit: David Blackwell / Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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