Tired of biting your tongue?
Being assertive may not come naturally to you if you grew up in a home where problems were thrown under the rug or your parents were unable to meet your basic needs.
Today, you may find yourself walking on eggshells or simply avoiding the elephant in the room all together. When you stay silent for the sake of others, you end up neglecting yourself and your relationship values in order to be fulfilled in the relationship.
Whether you are fearful of asking your partner what you need or keeping quiet at the office because you don’t want to lose your job, you are only hurting yourself. Operating from fear, means you tend to worry about the outcome of the situation versus voicing your inner thoughts and owning your worth.
Your voice deserves to be heard.
When using an assertive communication style in your relationships, it gives you the courage to communicate in an open, honest, direct and constructive manner, regardless if your perspective is similar or the opposite of the other party.
On the contrary, passive or aggressive styles of communication typically exacerbate situations. Passive communication keeps you staying silent or beating around the bush. Whereas, aggressive communication occurs when you are forcely confrontational through perceived power or control over the situation. Neither of these styles of communication give you a win-win outcome like assertive communication does in your relationships.
Here Are 5 Steps Being More Assertive In Your Relationships:
1. Show Respect For Yourself
Standing up for yourself when you aren’t being respected is crucial to the health of the relationship and your emotional well-being. By voicing your concerns and honoring your relationship values, it shows you are worthy of respect and deserve to be heard and understood.
If you continue to avoid situations that become complex, then you are showing the other party they can have power over you. You are teaching them how to treat you by ignoring the conflictual differences all together. This usually results with you being upset with yourself and resenting the other party because you aren’t communicating what you need. The longer you stay silent, the more pain and frustration you will continue to experience in your conversations.
Also, not knowing when to speak up can make things confusing. When you feel your emotions start to boil over or find yourself feeling undervalued, that’s your cue to take care of you. You will want to pause, implement self-care, then ask the other party to have an open conversation where the timing works for both of you.
If you remain passive, at some point you will begin to feel your self-esteem deteriorate affecting your personal worth. To avoid repercussions, you will need to take responsibility for how you communicate instead of placing the other party on a pedestal or simply stonewalling.
Tip: Use “I” statements to own your thoughts.
2. Use Value Versus Emotion
Speaking with assertiveness shows you believe in yourself and are confident about what you bring to the relationship. Being a valuable asset to yourself and others makes you likable, friendly and trustworthy.
If you fall short using passive or aggressive communication, then you are operating from a place of emotion versus value. Trying to solve differences in a heightened emotional state is quite impossible as neither party is able to actively listen nor be constructive with each other.
Your relationship values provide the foundation to articulate exactly what you need using logic and love versus emotion and fear. If you are looking to take the next step forward with a romantic partner or ask for a salary increase from your boss, then you have to be willing to show how committed you are to your goals to receive the commitment you desire with others.
Using the three 3Cs of Communication will be your most effective tool:
- Calm tone of voice
- Concise messages
- Constructive language towards a mutual outcome
Often, individuals who communicate from a place of emotion struggle to understand why their message isn’t being received well. Two things can occur, you tend to flood the other party through lengthy, long-winded messages which are overwhelming. Or, on the flip side, you may see the situation from only your perspective using a ME mindset, resorting to attacking the other party and ignoring their valuable contribution to the relationship. This can result in the other party pulling away, verbally attacking back, and diverting from a resolution.
To maintain valuable connections, each party is responsible for self-managing their own emotions. Self-care and self-love are vital to your relationship success and taking ownership of your emotions so they aren’t displaced onto the connection.
Tip: Facts over attacks
3. Honor The Relationship
While assertive communication is about owning your worth it is also about honoring the relationship as a whole – a WE mindset. The reason you want to use a WE mindset is because a resolution is more likely to occur when you are able to see the situation from multiple perspectives.
Assertive individuals are leaders in voicing their concerns and implementing respectful listening skills This is known as relationship intelligence. You are able to flow back and forth creating balance in the conversation which allows for mutual respect and understanding, even if there is a difference of opinion.
Having an open and flexible mindset gives you the ability to see outside of yourself. While you may truly believe in your point of view, the other party may have a valid perspective as well. Assertive communicators are able to see both sides and work towards finding common ground by bridging the gap between the two viewpoints.
Tip: WE mindset is the key to working together.
4. Focus On Solution, Not The Problem
Assertive individuals are forward thinkers and outspoken when it comes to their relationships. You know how to resolve conflict as quickly as it starts because you believe the relationship is worth more than severing ties. Your intentions are not to cause harm or create tension, but to simply share thoughtful ideas.
Focusing on the solution rather than the problem itself requires effective negotiation skills and empathy. An assertive person feels confident in working towards an alignment while still valuing the other party’s position. Your goal is to strive towards a win-win outcome without convincing the other party to find common ground. You are looking to be fair in resolving the differences without neglecting either position.
If you find yourself looking at the problem more than the solution, you are more likely to go down the rabbit hole and lose out on a win-win opportunity. The nitty gritty details can complicate the whole process, therefore nobody wins in the end. Learning to compromise and respect each other gets you a step closer towards achieving a desired outcome.
Tip: Look for the “win-win”
5. Know Your Boundaries
When you know your value you aren’t afraid to say “NO.” On the same note, assertive people typically know their limits and understand communicating with an aggressive or passive individual can be challenging. A passive individual may resort to the silent treatment whereas an aggressive person will try to overpower you. Utilizing boundaries allows you to own your worth, communicate from logic, and seek a mutual agreement.
Setting healthy boundaries assist you in shutting down disrespectful behavior all while elevating the connection at the same time. Boundaries are set by using your relationship values while also asking the other party to work with you.
For example, you may say:
- “I sense I’m being attacked. I value constructive communication. How can we work on this together?”
- “I feel frustrated when communication channels are closed. I value open communication. How can we openly talk about this?”
Tip: Boundaries are your lifeline. Anyone who wants to be in your life will respect your boundaries.
How do you know if you lack assertive communication skills?
- Do you shut down during conflict?
- Do you feel anxious expressing your thoughts?
- Do you struggle to make decisions for your life?
- Do you find it difficult to honor yourself?
- Do you feel constantly disrespected by others?
- Do you hold yourself back from speaking up when you feel undervalued?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you will benefit greatly from learning how to communicate from an assertive communication style.