Do you feel that you’re often taken advantage of and that people tell you that you’re too nice? Perhaps you fear confrontation and so your wants and needs get ignored? This can leave you full of resentment and anger, making you feel anxious and fearful in some areas of your life.
Being Mr Nice Guy shows you care about others feelings, but if you want to ensure your feelings are understood too, you need to become more assertive.
Assertiveness can be incorrectly thought of as meaning aggression and arrogance, the opposite to being nice. It is however a long way from that and if you imagine a line with passive at one end and aggressive at the other, then assertiveness sits around the middle.
An assertive person can be caring, kind and polite but also able to stand up for themselves when people try to take advantage of them. If you’d like to be more assertive in certain situations then start by practising your assertiveness skills with the following steps:
Decide on your personal boundaries. What are you prepared to accept from friends, colleagues and family and when is it important for you to make a stand?
Develop a way of saying No to others that you are comfortable with, without defending yourself or apologising too much.
Don’t always put yourself last. Otherwise people will start to do it too. Sometimes your needs and wants should be at the top of the list.
Replace your feelings of fear of authority with respect, which has to work both ways.
Don’t accept verbal abuse, aggressive behaviour or unfounded criticism.
Learn to be aware of your feelings around other people and start to practise verbalising them.
Express your opinion without worrying about what others think, your opinion is of just as much value as theirs even if they don’t agree with you.
Don’t avoid confrontation but instead explain the facts and how you feel about them in a calm way. No one can argue with your feelings as they’re yours.
It’s still important that you treat others well and see situations from both yours and their perspective and be considerate and polite. That doesn’t mean though that you should allow others to take advantage of you or treat you as an inferior.
Developing this life skill of assertiveness will enable you to feel stronger and calmer in difficult situations and lead to greater respect from your friends, family and colleagues.
To find out more about assertiveness and for support to get started please contact me.
If you’ve struggled with standing up for yourself I’d love to hear your comments about this blog and about whats worked for you.