There are plenty of articles about assertiveness. However, not many people know the strategy for learning this skill. Master assertiveness effectively now.
Why It Is Hard to Learn Assertiveness
Assertiveness is a must in today’s world. However, we usually fail to use this skill. There are some reasons for that:
• We are not taught assertiveness at school. It is rather combated, any independent views of students are stifled, and such children are seen as insubordinate
• Assertiveness is undesirable at home. Parents are bosses and children are supposed to listen, even if parents make mistakes. It does not only concern little children but also teenagers.
• In the case of toxic relationships and families, there is utterly no assertiveness, but rather manipulation and threat.
• Authorities also prefer someone who is subjective and who does not question the mainstream policy – all independent points of view are censored and combated, despite the freedom of speech.
The conclusion is that we have been programmed to be unassertive – by society, parents, teachers and so on. However, hold your fire and do not blame them – they have also been programmed this way by older generations and systems.
And If You Want to Learn Assertiveness…
Ok, you have been stifled and your assertiveness combated. But by some miracle, you can see that assertiveness is a must in the contemporary world.
Simply people who can say “no” are more respected and achieve much more than someone who never defends his/her boundaries. Where to start? I will give you 12 tips on how to master this skill easier. I can assure you: it is possible.
1. Assertiveness Is a Skill
Hence, learning it is like learning a new language or playing an instrument: step-by-step, little by little, persistently, every day.
2. Notice Your Unassertive Behaviours First
You might be overwhelmed with learning assertiveness or even not know where to start. But I will tell you, the fact that you will start to notice situations of unassertive behaviour is an important step towards change.
First, you need to meet the enemy to prepare the right fighting strategy. However, never be overwhelmed by the number of cases when you fail to be assertive.
If you are overwhelmed, read the reasons for unassertiveness once again. It is not your fault and, being programmed for so long, you are naturally struggling with using the new techniques at the start.
3. Your Assertive Messages May Sound Strange at First
It is normal to feel at first that assertive messages aren't "yours" and that you feel artificial when you say them. Initially, you will practise the examples learnt by heart, firstly in front of the mirror.
And your subconscious mind is not used to these new messages either. Plus, your learned fears of abuse can kick off. Hence, do not forget to transform your thoughts and beliefs while learning assertiveness.
4. Faltering and Forgetting Are Common… But You Can Learn from It
It is normal that before you use an assertive message for the first time, you will either forget about it or be afraid to use it. Just break the ice of your subconscious mind.
You need some time to assimilate and memorise a given message, plus train your subconscious mind to react differently.
Learn how to work with the subconscious mind – the article will continue below:
5. Never Be Concerned About Your Progress
And it is normal to have concerns about whether you have done the right thing by speaking your mind. Your subconsciousness will still hinder your first attempts to act differently. Again, repetition is the cure.
Each next attempt will be better than the previous one if you learn the lesson (i.e., learn how to avoid mistakes later). You ARE DOING BETTER just by trying to use an assertive statement over and over, with more and more self-confidence and fluency.
6. Learning Assertiveness May Take Time but It Works
Normally, learning assertive communication can take a long time and lead to many mistakes. But as I wrote earlier, practice makes perfect and the fact that you are making the effort counts.
Learning assertiveness is not only about communication but also about transforming yourself as a person. First, you need to believe that you deserve respect, that you can master assertive behaviour and that assertiveness is your natural law in life.
7. Repetition Is the Secret of Success
It works in the same way as in the case of learning a language or playing an instrument, or any other skill. To strengthen the link and signal between nerve synapses, a given message must be repeated.
Even if you do not have to face conflicts every minute, you can still practise in front of the mirror, imagining the scenario and seeing yourself as confident.
8 Keep Your Pace
Learn and practise assertiveness at your own pace and return to a given lesson as many times as you need. Do not forget that life is unpredictable and sometimes your work schedule may temporarily collapse.
Think of an illness, holiday, or a serious unexpected event, e.g., bereavement. Then, your learning skills will not be the same as when you are healthy and happy and your work is in full swing.
9. Give Some Assertiveness Skills Time
Don't worry about not being able to implement the new rules right away. Sometimes there will be no such cases to use a given skill (e.g., facing an emotional blackmailer), or you need more practice in other areas of life, e.g., at work.
As Brian Tracy teaches in his “Eat This Frog” book, do the task like making holes in the Swiss cheese, randomly, but by a bit, and try different approaches.
10. Take Your Own Time – Do Not Compare to Others
Do not compare yourself to other people who learn assertiveness and who may make changes earlier than you. It is normal that the longer you practise the better you are.
Those who are “better” than you now were also struggling some time ago.
In a month quarter or years, you will be like them also, remember that we are all unique and that your challenges are different than someone else’s – your families, relationships and many other life circumstances differ.
Practise powerful messages as often as you can.
11. Use a Mirror or a Pet
As I wrote earlier, practising assertiveness in front of the mirror is good. You can use your pet in the same way but remember that shouting or yelling can either frighten or provoke your animal, especially if it is a dog.
Nevertheless, pets also must observe your borders, which is especially important in the case of dogs.
12. Be Prepared for Temporary Failures
At first, assertive messages won't go down your throat, the same as your first words when you were a baby or later while learning a second language. Treat your “failures” as something temporary and remember that you can always learn from each failure.
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In a Nutshell
Today you have learned 12 useful tips on learning assertiveness. Learning it is like learning a language, so you need to take some time and practise it regularly and step-by-step. Never compare your proficiency to other people and appreciate any success.
Be aware that sometimes you will fail like a child falling while learning how to walk. But the effort is worth the trouble and I believe that your relationships will improve by practising assertiveness. Good luck. With lots of love and light,
Vicky is an experienced holistic writer and coach who inspires, motivates, and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The content of Awaken Happy Life is published for educational and informative purposes only. It does not substitute medical or any other professional advice. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. The author of Awaken Happy Life is not liable for any consequences of applying any piece of advice published on this website by the reader.