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9 Practical Tips On Assertiveness

Nathaniel Branden has described assertiveness as one of the six pillars of high self-esteem. The question is how to practise it. Today you will learn the principles of this pillar.

The Principles Of Assertiveness

I have already written a bit about assertiveness:

Assertiveness. 5 Most Common Myths

However, I have not given you much advice here. Now, after some time of research. you can find the answer to the question: “How to practise assertiveness?” Firstly, let’s learn some principles of assertiveness:

1. Stay Calm

Breathe normally. Remember to look at the person in the eye and to keep your face relaxed. Speak in a normal voice. If you struggle, chant a mantra, e.g PEACE – HARMONY – LOVE. Repeat it as long as your body starts creating endorphins.

You can also use short visualisation. For example, imagine that you are in a beautiful, wonderful place, let’s say on the beach where you feel absolutely happy and safe. Hold this image as long as your tension will go away.

2. Aim For Openness And Honesty Of the Communication

 Be open-minded. Remember to respect other people when you are sharing your wants, feelings, needs, opinions or beliefs. But also listen patiently and do not judge when the other person presents his or her own.

3. Assertiveness Means Listening Actively

This is one of the most important principles of assertiveness. Try to understand the other person’s point of view. It means that you should not interrupt when they are explaining their point of view to you. I will write something more about attentive listening on this website, so stay tuned to my blog.

4. Assertiveness Means Being Patient

Being assertive is a skill that needs practice. Firstly, you need to be patient to yourself. Rome was not built within one day and your new skills will be polished with practice. Observe your progress and set assertiveness as your goal. More about goals is here:

Secondly, be also patient to the person to whom you are talking. Remember that there are ups and downs, but you can always learn from your mistakes.

5. Take a Problem-Solving Approach To Conflicts

 Try to see the other person as your friend instead of your enemy. Use Stephen Covey’s principle “Seek To Understand Before Being Understood.” You will gain more applying it.

The principle indicates, that first try to be in the other person’s shoes to understand their perspective better. Then you can confront their point of view with your needs and wants. I do not suggest to resign from your rights and needs, just to understand that e.g., the other person might also have been hurt and just passes it on you, often unaware of the harm done to you.

6. Avoid Guilt Trips

Be honest and tell others how you feel or what you want. However, never use accusations or make them feel guilty. Manipulation with guilt never works in the long run. Address the facts, not the person.

I have already written three articles about guilt. Check them below:

This emotion can be justified or unjustified. Assertiveness assumes not causing any of these types.

7. Agree To Disagree 

Remember that having a different point of view does not mean that you are right and the other person is wrong. Everything is relevant and there is always a grain of truth in your and the other person’s standpoint. Try to find the third alternative, the solution which will work for both sides of the conflict.

8. Decide To Positively Assert Yourself

Commit to being assertive rather than passive or aggressive and start practising this kind of behaviour today.

Passive behaviour involves putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. Passive people often lack their own opinions and may seem very easy-going (at least much easier to be around than aggressive people) as they are happy to be bossed about and have life planned out for them.

Thoughts Of Life And Love

Aggressive people, on the other hand, put their own needs ahead, without negotiating with other individuals or taking them into account. Aggressive people’s opinions are the only that matter in interpersonal communication and these individuals become angry very easily if you start showing assertiveness.

Use any conflict in your life as an opportunity to practise assertiveness. Never resign from your rights to be respected and understood, but also remember to respect and understand others.

9. Use ‘I’ 

You will learn more about using the right statements while practising assertiveness. One of them is to use the statements that include ‘I’ in them such as ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’. Never use aggressive language with generalisation and starting with “you”, e.g. ‘you always’ or ‘you never’.

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In a Nutshell

Today you have learnt nine principles of assertiveness. They include staying calm, using the “I” form, staying assertive rather than aggressive or passive, no manipulation with guilt, the problem-solving attitude, being patient, self-confident, listening attentively and being open during communication.

Victoria Herocten

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