Be Assertive: 10 Ways To Stop Forgetting About Yourself…

Assertiveness has become a bit of a buzzword. We constantly hear about the benefits of being more assertive. Assertiveness enables us to take care of ourselves without being overbearing.

There is research being done on the delicate balance between being passive and aggressive. Ultimately the “assertive you” will boil down to knowing your self worth and practicing the behaviors of being more assertive.

There are many strategies for being more assertive. In this post I would like to share some of the small, specific things you can start doing today to be more assertive without turning into an aggressive butthole.

Start with “I” statements

Rather than being with a “You” when talking to someone, start with “I.” This shows that you are being accountable for yourself and sharing what you think and need.

Example: Instead of saying, “You keep interrupting me” you can change it to “I would like to finish what I was going to say without being interrupted”

Make your requests more intentional

Instead of asking people if they wanna do something (“you wanna go over that presentation?”), show your intention and make the request clear.

Example: “please review the presentation before the meeting”

Share the facts that you notice

When you see your colleague acting lazy or disengaged from work, it is a good idea to give feedback on what you notice. The impulse may be to say “hey, why are you being so lazy!”

Don’t give in. Keep things factual and share what you notice.

Example: “I noticed that you’ve come in half an hour late 3 times this week.”

Take a breath and assertively ask to think

Being assertive doesn’t always mean you have to have an immediate answer. There will be times where you need to process what is being said and it is okay to say, “let me think for a second.” This response shows that you acknowledged the request and gives you a few moments to gather your thoughts.

Politely say no without explanation

This is not a time for maybes. Be direct when you say no when you mean it. Make sure you body language is congruent with your words. Don’t feel like you need to give a reason if you don’t want to.

Acknowledge criticism

This doesn’t mean that you agree or disagree with it. It does show that you have listened to the other person and can take it into consideration before sharing your opinion.

Cut out hedge statements

Saying things like “this is only my opinion” or “I’m not sure if I’m right here” discredits your opinion. You can cut these out and just go straight to what you think. This will come off as being more confident in what you are saying.

Offer an alternative

There will be times when you want to help someone out, but not at that moment. Use this as an opportunity to be assertive and suggest something that works for you.

Example: “I’d love to help out, unfortunately that deadline won’t work for me. Is it flexible?”

Another example: “It sounds interesting. I’m not comfortable with ABC. Can we discuss other ways I might contribute?”

Study effective communication strategies

Communication is the heart of assertiveness. Making the study of communication a daily habit is good practice you can implement. You’ll learn many effective ways to express what you want and gain agreements.

Stand like superman

Amy Cuddy gave a powerful ted talk on how body language impacts how others see us and also how we feel within ourselves. Standing in confident postures can actually change how you feel. So the next time you are preparing to be assertive in a meeting, strike a pose first.

10 Ways To Meet Your Needs And Make Others Happy At The Same Time…

“Happiness is a choice that requires efforts at times.”-Aeschylus.

Making choices is a hard thing to do. What could be even harder than that? Saying “no”, if you are a people-pleaser.

Some of us are hardwired with the need to say yes all the time which puts us in hard situations at times. When it is about either meeting your needs or pleasing others, you find yourself in a tricky situation.

You are afraid of being rude and you want to help because you are a kind soul. You don’t want to decline any requests you get but also you have your own needs to fulfill. The moment feels like it’s a “lose-lose” situation whichever option you choose. Finding a way out of such situations is a tough job.

Here below are some ways to meet your needs and make others happy at the same time.

1. Know the difference between self-care and selfishness

You don’t want to look selfish when you decline a request but self-care isn’t selfishness. Avoiding stressful moments isn’t selfishness – rather it is self-care. Selfishness is when you indulge too much in yourself without caring for the strings attached to you.

It isn’t healthy if you keep ignoring your own needs just because you are too good to say “no” or you have picked up a habit of saying “yes” to everything. You can’t care for others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

2. Realize that you have a choice

When you find yourself in a situation, reluctant to say “no” to a request, the first thing you should bear in mind is that you are free to make your own choice.

You don’t always have to say “yes” to propositions that conflict with your needs. You can choose to say “no” and any reasonable person will respect your choice. The choice is yours. You don’t really need to sacrifice your needs to make others happy. It’s just that you need a little self-care at the moment so that you can be of much more help to them in the future.

3. Propose something else

Now that you have made your choice to decline the request, everything else from that moment onwards depends only on the way you present your choice to the other party. Support your decision with good reasons and suggest something else to help.

This shows your willingness to help but unfortunately, you can’t take them up on their request. The notion is to keep everyone happy. If you can’t give your time to the request, perhaps suggest someone else who could tend to it. That ought to keep your nose out of it.

4. Present yourself non-aggressively

You have to make sure that you choose only the polite words as you explain yourself to the other person. Sometimes, pushy people tend to get on our nerves but presenting yourself angry and aggressive will certainly play against you in any situation. It is not different in this situation.

It would be wise to avoid dealing with such people. The wiser thing to do would be to anticipate the request and to decline it gently before they even get the opportunity to put it through to you. Anger is the worst enemy of mankind. Keep calm at all times and tackle the situation with your wit.

5. Understand that you are of equal worth to anybody else

Do not undermine yourself. You don’t have to agree to everything that other people say just because you feel that they are worth more than yourself. That’s the first step towards your peace of mind. Do not succumb to bullying or whining. If you don’t respect yourself, it opens the door for others to disrespect you as well.

We have been taught to “give” and “love” and never to expect anything from anyone, but you can always give and love and expect everything from yourself. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to reject requests at times when it matters.

6. Set priorities and clear boundaries

Ask yourself “What are the most important things to me?” – then schedule them accordingly. Knowing your priorities helps you take the right decision.

A rather clinical approach to take care of the situation would be to weight your needs against the need of the other party and decide on whichever option is likely to bring the greater value of happiness. Know your limits and set boundaries to keep yourself within your comfort zone.

7. Be assertive

Assertiveness is the character of leaders. When you voice out your thoughts with a good deal of assertion, you paint a good image of yourself in people’s mind. Then, people tend to go with whatever you say. Be firm and not very apologetic. Your strong persona does all the work for you here.

But if your statements seem to lack respect, it backfires on you. People take it for rudeness. So, make sure you are being polite and respectful. It helps a lot if you practice choosing the right words for the right scenario.

8. Understand that the happier you are, the more capable you are of making others happy

A positive energy radiates out when you are happy. Happiness is contagious.

Try and be happy with the choices you make. Happy people make other people happy. If you don’t make yourself happy first, you won’t be able to make anyone else happy. When your loved ones see you happy, it brings happiness in them as well.

9. Learn and accept the fact that sometimes making compromise is a must

Understand that sometimes compromises must be made. It’s all a matter of priorities. If for instance, you’re busy building your website, that’s clearly important. But what if your friend calls in that his home is on fire and he needs you to help? That’s not only important but also urgent. So you have to leave your job and compromise. In other words, sometimes what people are asking of you could be of higher priority to be attended to than your own needs.

You should make a compromise if the request outweighs your needs. Buddha said, “Being generous, just helping one’s relatives and being blameless in one’s actions; this is the best good luck”

10. Go easy on yourself

Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything, after all, everybody has limits. Explain your reasons sincerely. Keep it simple and go easy on yourself.

Avoid the self-conflict by being sincere to yourself. Self-soothe by telling yourself that “what I did is in the best interest of everybody”. You’ll do just fine in every situation.

5 Ways to Defeat The Stubborn Negative Thoughts in Your Mind…

“Every thought we think is creating our future.” Louise L. Hay

If your thoughts are focused on negativity, this quote is enough to scare the wits out of you. But, that’s actually a good thing. When you’re aware that negative thoughts are creating strangling weeds rather than blooming roses in your future, you’ve taken the first step towards defeating them.

With a few, simple techniques, that nasty voice in your head will soon learn to behave itself. None of us will ever entirely eradicate negative thoughts — these are a natural and sometimes necessary reaction to external influences. However, we can decide to put a leash on them. By doing this, we turn them around and focus on the silver lining in everything.

1. Investigate Your Thoughts

Think about those times when you’re driving to work on a well-worn route and you realize, after you arrive, that you can’t even remember getting there. When we’re in auto-pilot mode with our thoughts, we leave ourselves open to invasions of negativity, as we do to car accidents if we don’t concentrate on the road.

You can limit auto-pilot thinking by starting each day with the intention of becoming aware of your thoughts. If, for example, you have a habit of cringing when you look in the mirror and unleashing a torrent of self-critical thoughts, use that as your first investigation of the day.

Ask yourself how those thoughts are helping you. This will lead to the knowledge that they are, in fact, destroying your confidence. Why would you want to do that to yourself, when you can just as easily think about your good points? Once you’ve recognized the pattern, write an affirmation on the mirror, such as: “I am beautiful inside and out.” Then, do it again.

You might feel silly at first, but the practice will act like a magic eraser to banish negative thoughts.

2. Flood Your Mind With Positivity

It doesn’t matter if you hate your job, don’t get along with your flat mates, fight with your family or can’t lose weight to save yourself, you can still put steps into place to flood your mind with “positivity”. A flood washes away everything it makes contact with — in this case, your negative thoughts.

Start by introducing simple, yet effective activities into your life, every single day, to enhance positive thinking. These can include reading stimulating and inspiring books before you go to sleep, getting out into nature every day, giving yourself the luxury of having a long, hot bath, seeking out friends who support and encourage you, eating nourishing, delicious fresh food and expressing your creativity.

3. Focus On Creating

When we’re busy creating, our minds completely lose the ability to worry. It doesn’t matter if you’re painting, playing an instrument, writing, doing craft, cooking, building a shelf or gardening. Any or all creative activities lead you towards inspiring thoughts.

Better yet, they act as a spring board towards the momentum you need to lift you into positive thinking. Momentum, in this sense, means that you need to have at least one positive thought in order to attract a spiral of them. Next time you find yourself wallowing down the wrong end of the spiral, get busy on a creative project of your choice and you’ll be on the up, before you know it.

4. Face Your Fears

Our negative thoughts are often a product of our fears and our fears create negative thoughts. This can be a never-ending cycle of self-sabotaging repetition, if we don’t commit to facing our fears and trying to overcome them. Nothing compares to experiencing the death of a fear by running at it head on. By doing so, we create space in our minds for new possibilities.

For example, if you have a fear of public speaking and it’s setting you back in your career, start off small by practicing by yourself in the mirror. Or, you could do a short course or gather a group of trusted friends to critique you and build your confidence. If you’re scared of dogs because you were bitten as a child, rather than subject your body to ‘fight or flight’ mode every time you see one, spend time with a dog whose owner you trust, in order to work through your pre-conditioned behaviour.

5. Embrace Silence to Find Clarity

In the world we live in, our minds don’t actually get to switch off, unless we make a concentrated effort to find the ‘off’ button. Where is the off button? It’s located in silence. You don’t have to be in a hilltop monastery to find peace, but you do have to turn the TV off, stop scrolling through the Facebook feed and understand that silence doesn’t mean boredom.

With so many choices for distractions, we constantly escape awareness of our thoughts by adding to them, with irritating (at best) and horrifying (at worst) external influences that feed negative thinking for advertising and commercial purposes. It’s important to empty all the rubbish that builds up in our minds, by acknowledging negative thoughts, letting them go and replacing them with positive ones.

The easiest way you can do this is to meditate. By calming all thoughts in your mind, you’re effectively doing a spring clean. By allowing space between your thoughts, you’re gaining clarity. By gaining clarity, you’re strengthening your ability to choose positive thoughts.

When you do that, you will have uncovered the key to health, harmony and happiness…simply by turning it in the opposite direction.