Week 6 Be Assertive: Say What You Mean to Say

There are times we are put into situations where we are hesitant to tell others what is really on our minds.  For most of us, we have no problem expressing to others what we really think.  For others, we may bite our tongues and never say what we really want. There may be a fear that if we say what we want, we are either going to hurt them or they are going to look at us differently.

A lot of people are driven to maintain an image that they want others to see or work hard to not fit the stereotype of an image that others expect.

In either case, living your life to measure up to others expectations is an exhausting errand. We cannot control how people will perceive us. We can however, control how we view ourselves.

Let’s say a situation happens at work where a colleague is taking your ideas and claiming them as their own. Some might hesitate in saying anything as they don’t want to come off as “childish” or aggressive by saying “I had it first!” Avoiding this fear by not saying anything, sets you up to devalue yourself and your capabilities of speaking up for yourself.

Learning to be assertive in how you communicate can help overcome these fears of negative evaluation by others and yourself. Think of Assertiveness being the middle ground between passivity and aggression.

Try these techniques:

  • Speak clearly and confidently- Confidence is communicated not only in your tone but in your body language.
  • Focus on the situation, not the individual- Stick to describing the actual facts of the situation that upset you as opposed to character traits about the individual you do not like. There is a difference between saying “ You lied, that wasn’t your idea” and  “my ideas are valuable and I will be the one who presents them”.
  • Balanced Compromises- If you tend to be more passive, most likely you’ve given into others demands where very little of your needs were met. Remember that your needs matter just as much. While being assertive may mean compromising, it does not mean rolling over and being a doormat. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, you probably are.

Be more mindful this week on how you communicate and where you can stand to be a little more assertive.

Have a successful week.