Have you ever been in a situation where you are in a group whose opinions are not aligned with yours? What did you do? Did you keep quiet or did you express your opinions just as they express themselves? This is a common scenario that most of us are faced with at one point or another in our lives. The way we deal with such situations often determines the outcome of future interactions with that group of people.
Assertiveness is a valuable skill that can help us handle such situations better. It involves the ability to express ourselves in a straightforward manner without stepping on the rights of others. However, not everyone is assertive, and some people find it challenging to be so. The good news is that assertiveness is a skill that can be learned and developed with time and effort.
Why do some people find it hard to be assertive?
To be assertive, one needs to find the right balance between passive and aggressive behavior. Passive behavior is often the result of societal conditioning that teaches us to be kind and friendly, to avoid arguments and disagreements. However, this often leads to hesitation in expressing opinions and thoughts, which can negatively impact self-confidence.
On the other hand, aggressive behavior is the complete opposite, where individuals fail to consider others’ rights and feelings. They tend to express their opinions in a way that undermines the self-esteem and rights of others. Aggressive behavior can appear in various forms, such as demanding rather than asking, rushing someone, or ignoring their feelings.
Assertive behavior, on the other hand, involves finding the right balance between being passive and aggressive. It requires two-way communication, where both parties can convey their message while listening to others as well. It encourages an exchange of views where the rights of both parties are exercised, and opinions and feelings are expressed appropriately.
How can being assertive help our professional and personal lives?
Assertiveness can bring significant growth in both our personal and professional lives. Leaders who are assertive are perceived to have higher integrity than those who are not. In an organization, having a team of assertive individuals promotes cooperation, support, unity, and training, which is essential for project success.
In terms of personal development, assertiveness can increase self-confidence and improve self-image. It helps individuals understand their own value and learn to appreciate others as well. Individuals who are assertive can channel their effort and time towards more worthwhile pursuits, which can help unleash their full potential.
So, what does it take to be assertive?
Developing assertiveness can be different for every individual. Some find it easier than others, while some may require more effort. Here are some tips for developing assertiveness:
– Know your value as a person- Understanding your self-worth is crucial in developing assertiveness. You need to understand that your opinions, thoughts, feelings, and the right to express them are as valuable as anyone else’s.
– Identify your needs and wants and address them – Don’t wait for others to satisfy your needs and wants. You should take independent action to meet them. This will boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.
– Acknowledge the fact that you have no control over people’s responses – You can’t please everyone, and you are not responsible for their reactions to your assertiveness. Focus on your actions and ensure that you are not violating anyone’s rights or feelings.
– Express and accept criticisms in an appropriate manner – Criticisms are a part of life, and it’s crucial to handle them appropriately. Express your opinions and share feedback in a way that does not violate others’ rights. Similarly, accept criticisms as constructive feedback that can help you improve your personal or professional life.
– Say “No” when you feel it’s not right for you- Don’t be afraid to say “No” when you feel it’s not right for you. You should never compromise your principles, even if it means not pleasing others. However, always seek out alternative solutions to meet halfway when possible.
In conclusion, assertiveness is a skill that can help individuals handle situations with confidence and dignity. It involves finding the right balance between passive and aggressive behavior and promoting two-way communication to express opinions and feelings appropriately. Developing assertiveness can yield significant personal and professional growth, and it’s a skill worth learning and mastering.