Asserting Yourself Effectively

Asserting yourself isn’t always going to be popular, because it comes with the probability of causing friction amongst your friends. Asserting yourself isn’t always going to be easy, because it comes with the possibility of being misunderstood by your parents and relatives. Asserting yourself can be painful, because it comes with risk of your becoming outcast in not only your workplace, but also society.  Knowing the repercussion that might be caused by your desire to listen to and express your inner voice, do you still want to learn the skills to assert yourself effectively? If you do, let me walk you through the process.

To learn to assert yourself effectively, you have to know what it is that you want to assert. In other words, what it is that you want to make clearly known to others. What you want to make clearly known to others can be your intention to tell your friends that it is not OK to mock someone, publicly or privately, at his or her skin color, sexual orientation or accent. It can be your longing to let your parents understand what truly makes you happy, in both of your personal and professional lives. It can also be your decision to implement a strategy for a specific project at work, knowing, despite the lack of approval from your colleagues, that it will bring the whole team a fruitful return. In short, knowing what you want to assert is the first step that you need to take.

Having figured out the subject of your assertion, persuading people, whose viewpoint that you would like to influence is the next step. To make that happen, understanding the difference between assertion and stubbornness is the key. Remember, being assertive isn’t the same as being stubborn. Although these two types of personal insistence both imply a certain amount of self-confidence, however, being assertive comes with an air of openness to various viewpoints, while being stubborn is a pure demonstration of one’s rejection of receptivity. Think about it, if you aren’t open or willing to consider others’ viewpoints, how can you expect yours to be embraced by others? It is important for all of us to be self-aware of our demeanor while being assertive, so as not to come across as stubborn.

As we often hear, the only person that we have control of is ourselves. Yes, we can try to be calm and collected, but under no circumstance can our friendly demeanor prevent others from questioning, resisting to or even challenging our assertion. To overcome others’ resistance to our assertion, good interpersonal communication skills are needed. Not only do we have to acknowledge others’ viewpoints, but we also need to remain open, yet firmly grounded in our assertion, giving reasonable explanation to convince other people that by doing things our way, a satisfactory result can also be achieved.

To wrap up this self-asserting process, we should encourage those, who disagree with us initially to give our assertion a chance by looking at things through our lenses and by analyzing situation from our viewpoint. In trying it out firsthand, they will resonate more with our words of assertion; hence, indirectly, subtly, the impact of those words will grow on them.

Asserting ourselves effectively is a very important skill to have. Not too long ago, Steve Paikin, longtime journalist and TV host of The Agenda on TVO channel, made a controversial statement as such, “why can’t we get more female guests? We’ve discovered there seems to be something in women’s DNA that makes them harder to book. ” Wow!!! If you are a female, who disagrees with his statement, how could you stand up to him if you didn’t know how to assert yourself effectively? If you are a male, who has female family members and friends, how could you defend them, if you did not know how to assert yourself effectively? Think about it!

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