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How To Be More Assertive

Jan 17th, 2023

Assertiveness is the balance between passivity and aggression. By being more assertive, we can be true to ourselves and get what we want without compromising the views and beliefs of someone else. It may take some practice to become more assertive, but it can be done.

How to be More Assertive

What’s your communication style?

People deal with situations in different ways. Some may use a passive response. Being passive may result in the failure to communicate one’s true thoughts or feelings. On the other hand, responding in an aggressive way can negate the views or feelings of other people. By responding in an assertive manner, we can consider the thoughts and feelings of others while still being open and honest about our own views.

It starts with self-awareness

Developing your self-awareness is the first step in becoming more assertive. Knowing what you believe and what your standards and values are will make it easier to approach people with confidence. Being self-aware gives you the ability to control your emotions and actions. It allows you to gain control of your life and your direction.

When you are self-aware and confident in your beliefs it is easier for you to speak up on your own behalf and remain true to yourself.

Speak up

It is important to speak up for yourself to get what you need. Often, we find it easier to advocate for others rather than for ourselves. However, when we don’t speak up for ourselves, it can erode our self-confidence.

For some people, it may never be easy, but that doesn't mean that you still can’t make it a habit. If you are uncomfortable speaking up, you can practice getting better at it. Consider role-playing with a friend. Write down what you want to say. Ask for feedback about how you communicate.

Ask yourself if there are conversations that you have been avoiding. If so, ask yourself why? Become familiar with your feelings around speaking up for yourself. When you notice that you feel nervous or uncomfortable about something that you want to say, realize that is your inner voice guiding you. Speak up and allow your inner voice to be heard.

Be clear and compassionate

When you do speak up, be clear about what you want to accomplish. Be calm and avoid getting into an escalated conversation. Don’t over-explain, be brief and stick to the topic at hand. Avoid making passive suggestions. Instead, make respectful, productive statements about what you want.

And remember to be compassionate towards those who you are speaking to. Speaking up can be uncomfortable, especially if you are dealing with a sensitive situation. Assume the best about everyone involved in the conversation to resolve any conflicts constructively.

Know what you don’t want

In order to be assertive, you need to identify the things that you want to do or accomplish. That means having a clear list of the things you don’t want to do as well. Whether it is no longer getting coffee for the office on your lunch hour or no longer doing all the chores at home, communicating boundaries about the things that you don’t want to do anymore is important. This can be a hard step, but it is essential in getting what you want.


Sometimes the mere thought of having a hard conversation can cause our heart to race and put us ill at ease. Deep breathing exercises can help when you feel overwhelmed or out of control. Find a quiet place to sit or stand. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold your breath and count to five. Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose.

Breathing can calm the brain and body. It helps to ground yourself and your intentions.

Don’t second-guess yourself

After expressing your thoughts, you might be tempted to second-guess yourself. Especially if you are new at asserting yourself. We second-guess ourselves when we think there is a right or wrong way of doing things, feel insecure about the decisions we have made or the things we have said.

Contemplating or being thoughtful about our conversations can be a good thing when we take the time to consider how we are interacting with others. It is good to pause and weigh our words and actions, it can make us more self-aware and help us learn from our mistakes.

Congratulate yourself

Learning to be assertive is not always easy but the more you practice, the better you will get. In the long run, you will gain self-confidence and self-esteem. You will improve your communication with others and earn their respect. Most of all you will create an honest relationship with yourself where you will understand and recognize your feelings and be able to convey them in an open and honest way.

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Photo courtesy Pixabay/Tumisu

Author of Article

Barbara Bauer is a Georgia-based blogger obsessed with inspiring others in the pursuit of self-development. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, drinking way too much coffee, and speaking with a British accent whenever possible.

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