Be more assertive – it will make you happier

Be more assertive – it will make you happier

Becoming more assertive can empower you to create better relationships and prevent bad feeling. What’s more it improves your decision-making skills and helps you to deal with challenging situations, not to mention reducing stress in the workplace and in life in general.

Jann Richardson, a professional and personal coach, sets out her top tips to help you to become more assertive.

Some people are naturally more assertive than others. If you tend to lead more towards being either passive or aggressive, you need to work on the following skills to develop your assertiveness in a positive way.

Value yourself and your rights

Know your rights and to protect them, respectfully. It’s true that your feelings, needs and desires are just as important as everyone else’s – though they are not more important than anyone else’s… You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Identify your needs and ask for them to be satisfied

If you wait for someone else to recognise what you need, you might wait forever. However, to perform to your full potential, your needs must be met so try to find ways to get your needs met without sacrificing others’ in the process.

Acknowledge that people are responsible for their own behaviour

Don’t make the mistake of absorbing responsibility for the way people react to your assertive statements, you are only responsible for – and can only control – yourself. As long as you are not violating someone else’s needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want.

Express negative thoughts and feelings in a healthy and positive manner

Stand up for yourself and calmly explain what is not acceptable to you. It’s alright to be angry, but try to remain calm and always be respectful to others. Say what’s on your mind, but do it in a way that respects the other person’s feelings and keeps control of your emotions.  If your emotions are bubbling over, choose a different time to have the conversation, when you feel calmer.

Receive criticism and compliments positively

Accept compliments graciously and accept feedback  (good or bad) positively – try not get defensive or angry. Don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes. It happens – it’s OK to ask for help.

Learn to say “No” when you need to.

Know your limits and what will cause you to feel taken advantage of and go with what is right for you. Know that you can’t do everything or please everyone and learn to be OK with that. Suggest an alternative where possible and try to reach an outcome that suits everyone.

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