Speak Your Mind: Why It's Important to Be Assertive

Speak Your Mind: Are you someone who defaults to "yes" when you would rather say no? Does everyone in the office come to you for help? Starting to feel resentful? Want to do something about it?

Learning to be assertive is one of the most important life skills you can develop. (I know this from my own experience as a certified shy person.)

Studies have shown that being assertive can lead to a whole host of benefits, from increased self-confidence to better relationships and improved mental and physical health.

Before you start, it’s important to understand what being assertive means. Psychologists define assertiveness as being able to express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view while respecting the rights and beliefs of others. The basis of assertiveness is mutual respect and honesty. Assertive communicators are straightforward and know how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Their relationships value and promote trust.

If you’re serious about living an authentic life and succeeding in reaching your goals, learning to be assertive is crucial. Think about how you feel about your life right now. Are you satisfied with your personal and professional situation? Are you conflict "avoidant?" Do you worry about what other people think of you? If you’re not happy with where you are now, the good news is that assertiveness is a habit that can be learned just like any other. With practice and commitment, you can change your mindset and live a life more aligned with your true values and aspirations.

Speak Your Mind:
Be Your Authentic Self

Being your authentic self sounds wise, yes? But did you know that being true to yourself has a range of benefits? Studies have shown that authenticity is more than a feel-good way of life, it is good for your health, relationships, even your career!
Here are some of the top benefits of living an authentic life.

    1. Greater self-confidence
To live an authentic life has a significant effect on your self-confidence. You like yourself more, you trust your judgment, you acknowledge and work with your own unique set of skills and talents, and you make better choices that align with how you want to be.

    2. More respect
As your confidence grows, you’ll inspire respect in others as they see you living in your truth. Everyone wants someone to look up to, and people recognize and respect authenticity. You’ll find yourself being a role model for others.

    3. Greater trust
When people see you living in alignment with your values, see you being straightforwardly yourself, their trust in you will soar. And trustworthy people make great leaders. If you become known for being honest and trustworthy, you’re more likely to be promoted or given opportunities.

    4. Better health
Living in alignment means you’re much more likely to take care of yourself, you’ll prioritize self-care, rest and balance. Researchers found that people committed to living an authentic life were more likely to eat healthy foods, exercise and get regular physical exams. Being your authentic self also sets you up for better mental health as you are calmer, less conflicted and are generally all around happier!

    5. Greater resilience
People who are at peace with their true selves are much more resilient when it comes to dealing with life’s ups and downs. They deal better with stress, which in turn has great benefits for their physical health. They don’t spend their lives in the cortisol soup that comes from being highly stressed.

    6. Better relationships
Being authentic leads to better relationships because you’re not pretending to be someone else. You can be honest and straightforward about who you are and what you value, without fear of being judged. You’re also better at managing boundaries and less judgmental of your partner.
And ultimately, living an authentic life means that when you come to the end of your natural life, there shouldn’t be any regrets! You’ve probably seen those lists of top regrets of the dying and resolved not to be one of those people. Start now by choosing to live authentically. Choose to be authentic and choose to be happy!

Speak Your Mind:
Quick Tips for Being More Assertive

·       Decide what your priorities are and stick to them.

·       Work out your individual boundaries.

·       Develop a positive open posture and look people in the eye when you speak to them.

·       Use positive "I" statements about how you’re feeling instead of blaming or finding fault with the other person. Be especially wary of feeling tempted to say, ‘you always’ or ‘you never.’

·       Get comfortable with saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to or can’t do. Keep it simple and non-emotive and don’t feel you need to add an excuse or explanation.

·       Only use "sorry’"when it’s appropriate for the situation. You don’t need to apologize for saying no.

·       Offer alternative suggestions to proposals you don’t like.

·       Look for compromises.

·       Be honest and direct about your feelings, thoughts, and intentions.

Consider writing a script for a situation that feels awkward. Rehearse what it feels like to speak your mind. 

Speak Your Mind:
Start Saying No

You want to be accommodating with people. You want to help out as best you can. However, too many people are more than willing to let you help out and will request more from you, if you let them. When this happens, you need to learn how to say no and speak your mind. You want to keep your self-esteem in tact. 

1.   If you have too much on your plate, you need to let people know this.
Otherwise, people will continue to ask for more. To be fair, one person may not know that several others have requested doing something for them. That is why you are responsible for letting others know.

2.   Ask people for reasons why they are requesting you to do things for them.
If they have a valid reason, you can consider doing it. But, if they are just trying to pass off their work, you will know from their response, and it will be easier for you to say no.

3.   Don’t beat around the bush when people ask for something.
They will perceive you as being weak, and they will take advantage of that weakness. Once they discover that, they will continue coming back for more requests.

4.   You don’t want to cop an attitude when saying no.
You want to politely state that it is not the right time for you. If the requester gets agitated because you said no, stay polite, but firm. You are in control of your time, and you must let them know that.

5.   Some people refrain from saying no because it puts them in a martyr role.
They take on so much work to get others to feel sorry for them. Don’t fall into this trap. It is a thinly-veiled excuse, and you should not participate in this behavior. It will backfire on you after a while.

6.   Saying no to your manager is challenging. You need to be delicate but firm.
A good way to handle this is to remind her of what you have on your plate already. Ask to have her prioritize your tasks. Unfortunately, you will have to do what your manager says. If the requests become too unreasonable after a while, it may be time to look for new work.

7.   When you speak your mind, make sure you don’t abuse it.
You should manage your time wisely, but you don’t want to come off as a slacker who won’t take any requests. It’s easy to get caught up in saying no and refuse every request. It is not in your best interest to do this.

To speak your mind and put yourself first is very empowering. Think back on a time when you've taken a stand or done something to change your situation instead of complaining about it. I bet your confidence went through the roof once you started talking action.

From here on out, I want you to think of that uncomfortable feeling you get when you know you should speak your mind as a clue to take action.  Stop and ask yourself what you can do about it. What can you do to change and improve the situation? It gets easier and easier to speak your mind the more you practice. It's a great way to build your courage and self-confidence!

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