Tips to Help You Become Assertive When You Have Social Anxiety
Do you know how to become assertive or why it’s important? I know you go through life thinking that everyone else’s needs should be put ahead of your own. When you say no to someone you feel guilty, so it’s easier just to say yes! Your own needs get lost somewhere in the shuffle, but that’s okay because you don’t really feel like they matter that much anyway.
It’s also hard to tell people what you are feeling or thinking. It just feels easier to keep things to yourself.
But in the end, this means that you live your life going along with what everyone else is doing. Sure, you might have some adventures along the way, but what about the adventures you want to take? What did the child in you want out of life?
Did you know people can’t read your mind? They are expecting you to “be who you are and say what you feel because in the end, those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”
I know you feel like your being judged and that it’s hard to speak your mind. Let’s take a look at what it means to be assertiveness instead of passive: a captain of your life instead of a first mate just along for the ride.
What Is Assertiveness?
You might have heard the buzzword assertiveness but not know what it means exactly. Or, you picture it as something you never want to be, like the girl at work who’s brash and in-your-face or the relative who walks all over everybody to get what he wants.
But that’s not what assertiveness is.
In it’s simplest terms, being assertive means openly sharing your feelings. Your thoughts. Your needs.
Being assertive isn’t just about what you say. It’s also about how you behave.
An assertive person pays attention, speaks in a strong relaxed voice, has good posture and eye contact, shows concern, and looks for the fairest solution for everyone.
In contrast, a passive person will speak too quietly, look down or away, have poor posture, and agree or give up too easily.
Which one of these people would you most like to spend time with? Think about this as you find yourself in situations. Choose one behavior to work on and keep at it until you’ve mastered it. Then move on to the next.
Benefits of Assertiveness
Here’s a tip: most people are not like you! They expect you to say no if what they are asking is too much for you. People can’t read your mind and don’t expect you to play the martyr. In this way, assertiveness improves your relationships. It makes it easier for people to be around you.
Being assertive is actually part of overcoming social anxiety. You need to start believing in your own value and your right to ask for what you need or say what you feel.
I know it’s hard. It feels too hard. It actually feels so bad when you stand your ground, that you wish you’d never done it. I get that.
All I’m asking is that you let yourself consider the alternative that maybe you deserve things as much as everyone else. Because you won’t behave assertively if you don’t believe that.
- You deserve to feel okay about yourself
- You are allowed to stand up for yourself.
- It just takes time and doing it for it to start to feel okay.
Over time, you will develop a healthier sense of your own worth, which will lead to more positive emotions and attitudes.
I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with some concrete steps to take beyond reading this article. If you can, consider picking up the book “When I Say No, I Feel Guilty” by Manuel J. Smith recommended by Dr. Richards at the Social Anxiety Insitute. This book discusses, among other things, your basic assertiveness rights and how to implement them in your life.
How do you feel about being assertive? Feel free to share in the comments below.