Does the thought of being assertive scare you to death? Why do so many of us find this difficult?
I get it, being assertive means taking a risk and standing up for ourselves. For many of us, it is not just the act of assertiveness which terrifies us, but the fear of the consequences. We often fear something terrible will happen or that we may be judged negatively. For the ' people pleasers' amongst us - we often fear that people won't like us anymore or we may appear mean and selfish.
In most of my client coaching sessions, I find that being assertive is often so frightening for some that they would prefer to swallow their feelings, keep quiet or just put up with the situation, often feeling resentful underneath or harboring a secret grudge! However, have you ever taken the time to look at what your lack of assertiveness is really costing you with regards to your self esteem and emotional wellbeing?
The Cost of ' Keeping Quiet'
Being assertive means openly communicating your feelings, opinions, and rights in an honest and direct way. It is not aggression, nor is it about taking a passive or ‘doormat’ position. When we learn to be assertive, we put boundaries in place which show people how we expect to be treated. Assertive people recognize their value and realize that their needs are wants are just as important as everyone elses.
Unfortunately, if we are people pleasers and suppress how we really feel, we put ourselves at risk of people to walking all over us and becoming a doormat. Believe me, there are people in our lives who will take advantage of this whether it is in our families, career or relationships.
When we lack good assertiveness skills, we often say Yes, when we really would like to say No and deep down, there is a belief that what other people want is more important than what we want. Unfortunately, in doing this, we are not empowering ourselves to live our life how we really would like to lead it! In actual fact, we are giving our power away to other people or situations and can ultimately end up feeling resentful, angry or hopeless.
Tips to Try
You can learn to be assertive but please don't scare yourself into thinking that it will be difficult. Often, when we practice assertiveness, we panic and fear the consequences and that can make us feel stuck. When beginning to learn confidence and assertive skills, we often fear the ‘uncomfortable.’ A great tip is not to fear this uncomfortable feeling - all it means is that you are doing something different. Praise yourself!
Here are a few of my top tips for assertiveness:
Lisa appears regularly in the Media, on TV, Radio and Print.