The other day I received a message from a woman who said, “I’m over 40, not married yet, but I want to get married but don’t wanna grow old alone. I have a problem with myself and that is making my relationships work. I like to speak my mind, but I am not sure what I want. Most of the time I am afraid to say what I expect from the other person thinking if I tell them then they will leave, but they leave anyway. At times I feel insecure and don’t love myself as I should. As you’ve said in your post, I have a way of allowing my past to interfere with my present. Please help.”
What’s the difference between a bossy woman and an assertive woman? “An assertive woman knows what she wants and goes after it whether it’s a career, relationship. or just goals period. A bossy woman just wants to dictate and be in control. An assertive woman can learn from others while a bossy woman already thinks she knows.” Champ Forbes
I remember early on in my marriage being very passive; whatever my husband said, that was pretty much it. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, yet alone speak up for what I wanted or show up and command the respect I needed in our marriage.
For some reason I thought not voicing my opinion was a form of submission, but gurl, let me tell you; it wasn’t. I remember it just like it was yesterday. My husband and I were visiting his parents and my mother-in-love said, “don’t you let nobody speak for you, not even my son.”
That was an eye-opener. She was telling me to speak up for myself even if he disagreed with what I was saying and that’s what I started doing; but I did it my way because at that time, I didn’t ask anyone for insight on how to go about speaking up for myself so, needless to say, I did it the wrong way; but rest assured, I did learn and just like I learned how to be assertive in my relationship, you can too!
Listen, self-help books fly off the shelves of bookstores. They’re the most common books on request at libraries. From business people to housewives, people are looking for ways to improve their lives, and the most sought after self-help books are those on how to be assertive and confident.
During job interviews, potential employers look for essential qualities in prospective employees. Assertiveness and confidence are high on the list. People we admire in the business world are often seen as confident and assertive.
To achieve goals in life, these are two valuable character traits. While some people seem to be born assertive and confident, the rest of us can learn these coveted characteristics.
Here are my top 8 tips to empower you in becoming the assertive and confident woman you are:
- Learn the difference between being aggressive and assertive. People respond better to an assertive person rather than an aggressive or bossy person.
- Aggressive people are seen as bullies who approach a problem with harsh criticism. They would say someone is doing a project “all wrong,” for example.
- An assertive person, on the other hand, approaches the same situation with concerns and ideas to improve the project.
- Your goal should be to approach people with positive attitudes and solutions to problems. If you respect others and treat them as you want to be treated, you’ll have the same courtesy returned to you.
- Speak up. Speak with confidence even if you don’t feel confident. Practice speaking this way. The more you practice the more it will become second nature.
- Model your behavior after people you admire. Chances are the people you admire have the assertiveness and confidence you’re looking for in your own life.
Observe how they do things.
- Pay attention to what they say and how they say it.
- Watch their body language.
Studying people who have the traits you crave is one of the best ways to create those very same traits in yourself.
- Choose your words carefully. This is especially important if you’re going to assert yourself in situations where you were previously passive. Think about the different ways that your words can be interpreted. Write them down and read them back to yourself if that helps.
- Remember that there’s a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive.
5. Develop good listening skills. Being assertive takes some great communication skills. Remember that communication has two sides – speaking and listening. Truly listening will help you clearly understand the situation at hand. When you follow up with thoughtful and assertive speech, others are more likely to value your opinion.
6. Avoid taking things personally. Since being assertive can be touchy, sometimes you’ll do everything right and still end up rubbing someone the wrong way. Learn how to brush off comments that don’t matter.
7. Be humble. You can combat resistance to your assertiveness by being humble. Avoid bragging about yourself, even if it’s in a joking manner.
- Handle negative issues quickly. If problems arise, jump on them immediately. It’s a part of being assertive. Handle issues with kindness and respect and people will remember you for it. If you let problems linger or treat them in a negative manner, people will remember that too.
Last and most of all, you must believe in yourself and your abilities. Keep in mind that some of our greatest leaders didn’t start out assertive and confident. George Washington was too shy to talk to people growing up. He changed his ways, and so can you!
Remember that the skill of assertiveness is something that develops over time. It may be overwhelming to try to make drastic changes overnight. Ease yourself into it and test the waters. It’s always best to think with clarity and make your changes slowly.
With a gradual change, others will be more likely to accept your new assertiveness. Before you know it, you’ll have their respect for the new, improved you!
Leave a comment, share this blog with a friend, and then join a sisterhood of Regal Women who are glowing and growing in life and love.
Dr. Patricia Shaw, Master Relationship Coach
Teaching women who struggle to move forward in life and love how to go from burnedout and overwhelmed to living a liberated life. Overflowing with confidence, beaming with clarity, grounded in a commitment to who they are.