Learning anything new or different in your life always begins with first convincing your mind that it’s ok to make that change and that the change is not wrong. It may feel different at first but eventually it will become part of you. Having a growth mindset can really help you in all aspects of your life. The following are 9 tips on how to stand up for yourself:
Make the decision to positively assert yourself. Commit to being assertive rather than passive or aggressive and start practicing on that very day. It may feel strange at first but like any new habit will eventually get easier.
Aim for open and honest communication. Remember to respect other people when you are sharing your feelings, wants, needs, beliefs or opinions. If you feel your words are not coming out as per plan, remember to be respectful and share honestly what you are implying.
- Stay away from guilt
Be honest and tell others how you feel or what you want without making accusations or making them feel guilty. But most importantly do not feel guilty yourself for being different or making these changes in your attitude and behavior.
- Remind yourself that you are doing no wrong
It is not wrong. Remind yourself that standing up for yourself is important for your self-confidence and to feel in control of your life. YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG by voicing your opinions.
- Be respectful
As already stated, respect both yourself and the other person (or people) involved. It all starts here. This is the foundation. Respect of everyone is necessary.
- Practice assertiveness.
Talk in an assertive way in front of a mirror or with a friend. Pay attention to your body language as well as to the words you say. Practice makes perfect. Recognize that it may be scary at first and that it probably will not be perfect. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Resolve to learn from each attempt how to do it better next time. Becoming assertive may be one of the hardest things you have ever done but learning it and mastering it is one of the most rewarding.
- Use an “I-message”
Stick with statements that include ‘I’ in them such as ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’. Avoid using aggressive language such as ‘you always’ or ‘you never’. Simply put, if you start a sentence off with “You…”, it comes off as more of a judgment or as an attack and puts people on the defensive. If you start with “I,” the focus is more on how you are feeling and how you are affected by their behavior. Also, it shows more ownership of your reactions and less blame. This helps to minimize defensiveness in the other person, model the act of taking responsibility, and move you both toward positive change. For example, “You Message:” “You need to stop that!” “I Message:” “I’d like it if you’d stop that.”
- Learn to say “NO”
A polite but assertive “no” to excessive requests from others will enable you to avoid overloading your schedule and promote balance in your life. An understanding of assertive communication can also help you handle difficult family, friends, and co-workers more easily, reducing drama and stress in your life.
- Use disarming statements.
Speak with statements that are complimenting. Be sure to be sincere. Be ready to apologise if your words offend someone. Acknowledge the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Everybody wants to be understood. It will require you to hear more than just their words. It requires you to listen and note their body language as well.