Do you have trouble saying “No” when you really mean it?
People who are assertive are generally self-confident, out going, and they know what they want out of life. They also go after what they want with energy and the attitude that they are going to get it. They are usually winners in many aspects of their lives, especially when it comes to competitive endeavors. But don’t confuse this will being a bully.
Now, the first thing you will have to learn is not to go overboard with your newfound assertiveness once you learn it. Assertiveness is not aggressiveness or bullying other people. It is simply a way for you to stand up for yourself and not be rundown by people who are likely to take advantage of you. At the same time, assertiveness is respecting other people’s feelings and opinions.
You can start gaining assertiveness by taking time to figure out how you really feel. Be honest with yourself! This means, that, if the gang goes out to lunch and everyone else orders lasagna, that you don’t automatically order lasagna just because the rest of the gang did. If you want a Chef’s Salad instead, for example, feel free to order a Chef’s Salad. Instead of being afraid of being the “odd person out”, you may be surprised at how many people change their minds and order the salad instead for lunch. There is no need to be rude or make wise-cracks about the others’ meal choices. You are simply expressing your wants and desires, and in this case, you want a CHEF’S SALAD.
Another way that you can gain more assertiveness in your life is to maintain self-control. This means that you maintain as much calmness as you possibly can when you are faced with a conflict situation. The more in control that you are, the calmer you will be. Then, and only then, will you be able to handle the problem successfully. Keep your wits about you and don’t let the other person raise your blood pressure. You are in control of yourself–keep it that way.
When conflicts arise in your life, as they are bound to do, compromise can be a successful method for resolving a problem between two or more people. Keep in mind, though, that compromise is not synonymous with “giving in.” You are not throwing in the towel and giving up on everything you want. You are merely bargaining for your wants with someone else’s wants.
For example, your spouse wants to go out to eat tonight, but you want to stay in tonight and catch up on some reading. You will need to do a bit of compromising in order to work this problem out. Remember not to assume what you think they will say or do–you cannot read their minds. Take the discussion one step at a time. Remember to keep your cool and staying control of the situation. If your spouse loses his or her cool and tries to use the old, “You never/You always” routine, don’t let them do it. “You never want to go out, or you always want to stay home…” is a common routine for people to use on others when they are trying to persuade them.
A good compromise might be, “Let’s stay home tonight and go out another night instead.” And, if that compromise doesn’t work, at least it’s a good place to start!