“Once you have a major success with assertiveness, you learn that it’s a much healthier path than being a doormat to the insensitive folks. You gain respect for yourself, have more time for your priorities, and develop authentic and healthier relationships.” ― Doreen Virtue
Whenever I feel like I am being treated like a doormat in relationships, I remind myself, “Do not be like Tara!”
It is almost like a mantra.
We all know how important it is to be assertive in relationships. Most of us do anyway. Not Tara. I do not judge her, but I wish I could inject some assertiveness into her veins.
You see, Tara has been in multiple toxic relationships where she decided that she needs to diminish herself to make her partner feel better. She discovered that being super submissive “saved” her from the violent outbursts of her abusive partners.
Assertiveness is a key part of healthy relationships. It is essential to ensure we can express our needs and wants to the ones we love.
But, when we are so used to being submissive, it can feel like a challenge to make our voices heard.It breeds a sense of insecurity or anxiety when it comes to voicing our needs in relationships.
We may be so used to a submissive role, that it can be difficult to try something new.
Assertiveness is a learned skill, however, and with patience and practice we can all learn how to communicate what we need in our relationships in an effective way.
When practiced properly, assertive communication has the power to promote greater understanding and connection between individuals; something that is essential for successful loving relationships.
Whether you’re currently in a relationship or are looking for one, here are seven tips on how to increase your assertiveness.
1. Start small
“The best gifts are never given, but claimed.” ― Warren Ellis
Assertiveness in relationships can seem daunting, but you don’t have to tackle the whole mountain at once.
Start small and persist with it day by day, as even taking baby steps towards assertiveness can make all the difference in discovering more love in a relationship.
Asserting yourself picks up momentum as time passes, so be patient yet determined to grow your strength and voice within any relationship.
Without self-confidence and assurance of your own needs, your relationships will suffer for sure, making the journey to finding a connection a frustrating one.
So take a deep breath and start from where you are — every effort is worth it!
What you can do:
If you’re not used to asserting yourself, start small and build up from there.
For example, if you have been asked to do something that you don’t feel comfortable doing, instead of automatically saying yes, take the time to think about it and then respond with an honest answer.
Even this small act of asserting yourself can help build up your confidence and make it easier for you to be more assertive in future situations.
2. Use “I” Statements
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Assertiveness is an important part of any loving relationship. But sometimes it takes extra effort to express your needs in a gentle and confident way.
Using “I” statements can be very powerful, as they are emotionally aware and focused on the individual instead of blaming the other person.
By speaking from my perspective, I can more effectively communicate with others while still remaining understanding and open-minded toward their point of view.
Assertiveness helps all relationships grow since everyone involved expresses their true feelings without fear or intimidation.
This also allows space for mutual respect and understanding so that all parties feel secure and valued.
What you can do:
When expressing your feelings or needs, using “I” statements can help make sure that your point is clear without sounding overly aggressive or confrontational.
For example, instead of saying “you never listen!” try saying “I feel like I’m not being heard when I talk about this issue.”
This will give the other person a chance to understand where you are coming from without feeling attacked or judged.
3. Set Boundaries
“Assertiveness is not what you do, it’s who you are!” ― Shakti Gawain
Assertiveness is an important element in sustaining healthy relationships and understanding boundaries can aid in this. It can be hard to express your needs and boundaries in a relationship as communicating them may bring about fear of rejection or resentment.
Not communicating our boundaries only leads to sadness and loneliness, since love cannot truly flourish in a relationship where each person’s boundaries are not respected and cherished.
Assertiveness is the gentle act of expressing to our loved ones what it is we require of them so that we may have the sort of relationship that allows us to cultivate true love for one another.
Take time to get clearer on your boundaries and don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself so you can both experience the abundance of joy and connection assertiveness brings.
What you can do:
Setting boundaries is an essential part of any healthy relationship and making sure that yours are respected is key to maintaining a healthy balance between both parties involved.
If someone violates one of your boundaries in any way (verbal abuse, physical violence, etc.), make sure that they understand that it is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated again in the future.
4. Speak Up
“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.” ― Benjamin Jowett
Assertiveness can be hard to achieve in relationships, especially when it means we have to risk the happiness or comfort of our partner. Our tender love for them can make it difficult to stand our ground, but speaking up is an essential part of any healthy relationship.
Without assertiveness, we cannot truly express ourselves, and might never receive the full respect or admiration that we could otherwise deserve if we spoke with a stronger voice.
Assertiveness helps build not just trust, but also clearly portray our needs and dreams so that both partners can understand each other better.
So when struggling with how to increase your levels of assertiveness in relationships, try speaking up with a gentle yet meaningful tone — a fondness laced with sadness is sometimes the best way to have your point heard without causing undue hurt or tension.
What you can do:
Don’t be afraid to speak up when something isn’t right or when something bothers you; it’s often better to address the issue head-on than let things fester until they become bigger problems down the line.
This doesn’t mean attacking the other person; simply express your feelings calmly and clearly so that they understand where you’re coming from without feeling attacked or judged.
“The duty we owe ourselves is greater than that we owe others.” ― Louisa May Alcott
Assertiveness is an essential tool in building and maintaining relationships, especially when there is love involved.
It takes practice to find the balance between being compassionate and standing your ground.
Listening can be one way of developing the confidence to assert yourself. With the right amount of self-love, honest conversations become easier so you are able to turn expectations into agreements and disagreements into approaches that incorporate mutual understanding and respect.
Taking advantage of this method can lead to further appreciation and fondness for each other’s opinions which can eventually build better relationships.
What you can do:
While speaking up is important, listening is just as important when it comes to having an assertive relationship with someone else; by actively listening and considering what the other person has said before responding, you foster more understanding and open communication between both parties which can help avoid misunderstandings down the line.
6. Respect Yourself
“There’s boldness in being assertive, and there’s strength and confidence.” ― Bryan Cranston
It can feel so disheartening when your relationships don’t work out as you had hoped. It can lead to a sense of desperation and helplessness.
But understanding how important it is to first respect yourself can really be a game changer in developing assertiveness — which in turn, opens up the door for lasting and healthy relationships built on mutual love and respect.
What you can do:
Assertiveness is grounded in self-respect; make efforts to treat yourself with fondness and gentleness and this will inevitably create more satisfying relationships.
Respect yourself first by believing in yourself and knowing your own worth; self-respect will give you more strength when it comes time to assert yourself in a relationship. Knowing your own value will help prevent others from taking advantage of you or disrespecting you in any way.
7. Practice Self-Care
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” ― Warren Buffett
Assertiveness can be difficult to achieve in relationships, especially where love is involved. With so much emotion and sentimentality, it can be easy to become complacent and settle for far less than we deserve.
Still, loving someone should never mean that you accept less than mutual respect, and this is why self-care plays such an important role.
When you are feeling strong and confident in yourself, rather than drained or depleted, you are more likely to care for your own needs and be assertive in your relationships.
Assertiveness should never come at the expense of kindness or understanding, but it does take practice.
Self-care is ultimately about creating mental, emotional, and physical space for yourself to check in with how you are feeling and make healthy choices so that you know you will always have love — for yourself as well as others.
What you can do:
Practice self-care; if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out due to outside pressures (work/school/family, etc.).
Taking time out for yourself can be beneficial since this can help restore balance within yourself and makes it easier to be more assertive when needed in relationships with others around you.
Being assertive doesn’t come naturally for everyone but with practice and patience, anyone can learn how to effectively communicate their feelings while still respecting those around them.
By following these seven tips on how to increase your assertiveness in relationships, hopefully, now you have some helpful tools on hand so that next time a situation arises where being firm yet gentle would benefit both parties involved! Remember: You have every right (and duty)to stand up for yourself!
And Now Your Thoughts
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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