It it time for you to start being assertive?
There’s a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Assertive behavior is all about drawing healthy boundaries in your life so that your needs are being met. This can be hard, especially if you are a people-pleaser or hyper focused on caring for your family. It’s easy to get lost in the madness of raising kids, marriage, work, and life.
How do you know if it’s time to start developing your assertive side?
#1 Let’s answer a couple of questions:
- Are you feeling overwhelmed?
- Do you have anxiety taking over your life?
If you answered yes to the questions above, then there is a good chance that you are putting everything else in your life above your own needs. In the short term, that kind of thinking seems like you are being heroic by putting yourself last…but living like that can only last for so long before you reach a breaking point.
There are totally legitimate times that you will need to put yourself last, but again it should be for a season with realistic breaks.
#2 Take a look at your life…
- Are you constantly feeling like a failure?
- Do you feel stuck?
- Are you lacking plans, goals, and new challenges?
Answering yes to these questions means that you are likely in need of developing your assertive side. Sometimes it’s your kids who are calling the shots in your life, maybe it’s work, or a marriage that you’ve become complacent. If you are feeling stuck, then it’s time to brush up on your assertive skills and redefine who you are in life.
#3 Do you find yourself saying these phrases?
- I’m really trying, but it’s just so hard!
- It’s not what I wanted , but what am I going to do?
- We’re doing okay, I guess.
- Maybe I was expecting too much.
- I just don’t have the time right now.
These phrases are an indication that you don’t value your own worth! Guess what?! You do matter and your opinion/hard work matters. It’s time to assert yourself in a respectful and professional way whether at home or in the work place.
#4 Do you have negative self-talk?
- I’m not smart enough.
- I’ve never succeeded before, so why would now be any different?
- No one listens to women.
- There’s nothing I can do about it.
These statements that you say to yourself are a reflection of how you feel about yourself and they lead to powerlessness. When you find yourself making these statements, you should work on a plan to think more assertively. Turning negative feelings into positive talk that keeps you motivated. Instead of saying, “I’m not smart enough” you could try something like “This is really hard and I have a lot to learn.” Setting goals and working on a plan to achieve your goals will help you with becoming more assertive.
#5 Do you find yourself repeating bad situations over and over?
Realizing that there is a cycle of negative thinking or behavior on your part is another sign you need to develop assertive behavior. Usually when a negative cycle is experienced in life, it’s because you haven’t taken the time to stop and evaluate what is happening.
You’ve allowed your response and behavior to become automatic so the same things keep happening to you over and over again. This can lead to a belief that you can’t do anything successfully or that you don’t have value.
Developing Assertive Behavior
Assertive behavior is made up of skills and a way of thinking that allows you to have your needs met without someone telling you how to live your life. It’s not about being aggressive or getting what you want for the sake of being selfish.
Changing your behavior from passive to assertive doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and practice. Start by making simple changes.
As a mom of younger children, I always think about meal time. I get everyone’s food ready and by the time I sit down to eat, someone is already asking for another drink, a fork, more food, etc. This is such a great space to set some boundaries and be assertive.
My need: eat my meal while it’s still warm
Assertive Behavior: Set everyone’s food out. When I sit down, I won’t get anyone anything else until after I have finished my meal.
It’s not being selfish to eat my food! Kids need to learn boundaries, so this assertive behavior is a win-win for everybody.
Find a place in your life that you can start practicing assertive behavior in a small way.