Top Tips for Assertively Standing Up for Yourself

You probably already know that it’s good to be assertive. But, it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself, especially when there is conflict, or it feels risky. You can try dialing down the risk and build your assertiveness muscles in the way you deal with the dozens, if not hundreds, of small decisions you make every day. Think of all the times you choose to stand in your power or to go with the flow. Here are some top tips to help you stand up for yourself every day.

1. Start small

If you feel less than confident about being assertive, take baby steps at first. You can start by adjusting your posture to a more confident shoulder back and chin up stance, that says to the world ‘take me seriously.’ If you’re a serial apologizer, try removing ‘sorry’ from your everyday personal dictionary and save it for when an apology is warranted. 

2. Practice! 

Resolve to try being more assertive at every opportunity. You probably know that it takes time and preparation to form new habits, with the latest research saying 66 days is the magic number. Schedule a reminder in your calendar, and practice asserting your needs daily for 66 days until it becomes automatic for you. 

3. Rehearse 

Maybe you’ve got a difficult meeting or conversation coming up, or there are some situations which always make you feel anxious and small. Try imagining the scene and write yourself a script where you stay in your power. Work out what feels right for you and try it the next time such a situation arises. 

4. Practice patience 

You might find that your new assertiveness provokes negative responses in people who are used to you being compliant. It’s a good practice to stay calm but assertive if they try to override you. Don’t react or be defensive, count to ten and stay in your power. 

5. Be clear

When you’re standing up for yourself, it’s important to be very clear about your position and to avoid infusing it with emotion. Be straightforward and say what you want without being passive-aggressive or indirect. 

6. Practice saying no

When you’re clear about what you want and what you don’t want, saying No politely but firmly becomes a whole lot easier. Work out what’s important to you and don’t leave room for doubt in the mind of the asker. Saying no doesn’t make you a mean or rude person, it’s a sign of strength and certainty, and everyone will know where they stand. 

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