You are not alone if you have ever left a tough conversation feeling like the other person simply wasn’t hearing what you were trying to say. This happens for A LOT of people for several different reasons, but they all link back to a lack of assertive communication.
We all know those people who tend to captivate everyone in the room and it just seems like everyone gets it when they finish talking. It can be easy to become frustrated that everyone seems to hear them out, respect their opinions, and go out of their way to gain this person’s favor. Do you know what all of those wonderfully captivating people have in common? Their special super power?
They have the confidence to say what is on their minds clearly and powerfully, as if what they have to say holds some weight to others in the room. These people do not just state their opinions confidently but they show their confidence through their tone of voice, their body language, volume, and full presentation. These captivating people do not sit quietly in a corner, take orders, agree to take on more than they have time for, and allow others to run over them. You don’t have to be the boss to carry this kind of confidence, but you do have to have a higher level or respect for yourself in order for others to respect you equally.
The truth is, we can all embody this super power if we so choose by adopting an assertive communication style. Assertive is a style of communication in which an individual is able to stand up for their needs and wants while also considering the needs and wants of others without showing passive aggression or physical aggression. Too often we view assertiveness as selfishness or rudeness, when in reality it is essential to our growth and thriving.
Adopting an assertive communication style can and WILL change the way that not only others look at you and perceive you, but it will change the way that you see yourself. THAT my friend is the most important part. Seeing yourself in a new light - a light that is important, confident, competent, and worthy of attention will transform the way that you move forward in your life as you encounter new relationships and new opportunities.
Tips for becoming an assertive communicator
Its okay to say no sometimes! Know your limits and what you are capable of doing without overloading yourself. You don’t have to explain yourself.
Plan what you are going to say and practice running through it until you are able to do so confidently.
Express your thoughts and feeling calmly rather than yelling, criticizing, giving the silent treatment, or threatening. Use I statements! “I feel annoyed when you do ….”
Respect yourself and others - its okay to state your needs as long as you are doing it in a respectful way and not compromising their rights
Example of what to say:
“I’m feeling super overwhelmed with everything going on at school lately and taking on the bulk of the household chores lately is leaving me exhausted. I know you’re really busy too, but do you feel like there is anything we can do to start dividing household tasks more equally?”
Example of what not to say:
“I am so overwhelmed with everything going on at school lately and then I come home to our apartment looking like a tornado came through it. I just don’t understand why you have to be so messy and refuse to pick up after yourself. All I ever do is clean up after you when I get home and I never get to rest.”
Let’s be truthful here…
We all get overwhelmed and overstimulated and that is okay. It is part of human nature and balancing work, school, relationships, and family do not make it any easier. However, backing down and becoming a door mat to keep from rocking the boat is only going to make your life more miserable. Taking charge of our lives starts with assertive communication and effective follow through. YOU CAN DO THIS!