Updated: Jul 12, 2018
If you've ever had a hard time finding your voice and speaking up for yourself when you needed to, you are not alone. Here are a few tips to bring the more assertive you out of her shell.
All right. So, first things first...take a deep breath. The anxiety you may feel when you're attempting to decide to say something (please say something...anything) or not is normal. I've been there for sure.
Should I tell them they mispronounced my name? (it's pronounced [la-key-ta], by the way.)
Should I tell my stylist she did not give me the hairstyle I asked for?
Should I tell my boss I am unable to pick up one of my coworker's slack without a raise?
My answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES!
There's a time and a place for everything. And there is certainly a diplomatic way to get your point across. But how does one stop being meek and mild and get a little spicy when it's necessary?
#1 Decide to Start Speaking Up for Yourself
Make a conscious decision to stop being a pushover. Before you leave your house today, choose to stand up for yourself. In a moment of distress, you may clam up as you have been doing your entire life. To avoid this, decide in advance to start speaking up. If you need to look in the mirror and give yourself a pep talk before heading out in the morning, then do that. If changing your outer appearance makes you more confident and more likely to speak up, then throw on those heels and put on a red lip and face the world. You got this!
#2 Pick Your Battles
Until you get in the swing of your newfound assertiveness, you may feel more comfortable being selective about when you want to stand on your "soapbox". If you think you'll leave the situation wishing you would have spoken up, then you should say something.
Times that you should ABSOLUTELY speak up:
When you're in danger
If someone else is in danger (even if you do not know them...don't be a bystander)
You're being disrespected
Someone is doing a behavior that makes you uncomfortable
In professional settings, unless you're in a position of power, you may not have the liberty to always be as assertive as you would like. However, you can set the tone for how you would like other people to treat you. You can do so by not allowing your coworkers and supervisor to get too "comfortable". If you keep things professional with them, they should keep things professional with you. And let them know if/when they cross a line.
#3 Be Direct
When someone crosses a line with you... and unfortunately, it's bound to happen, let them know in a tactful way. Don't beat around the bush. Don't tiptoe around the issue. Tackle the issue head-on.
Example: You normally wear your hair in its beautiful, kinky-curly state. You straightened your hair for a trim. And you see your nosey neighbor who feels the need to say something to you every day. He says, "Omg! I love your hair! You should wear it like that every day! It looks better like this compared to the frizzy look."
You have two options here: Option A- Pause, swallow, and say thank you.
Option B- Tell Josh that you love your natural hair and his opinions do not validate you either way, so moving forward it would be best if he kept them to himself.
I hope you choose Option B. Josh can kick rocks. Of course, Josh will play the victim. But honestly, you should not have to accept insults disguised as compliments. You're beautiful and you know it. Sorry not sorry, Joshua.
#4 Say No
Sometimes a simple "no" is enough. If someone is asking something of you and you're not feeling generous at the moment, say no. Don't always feel the need to give an explanation or lie about why you can't do it. Just say no.
Example: Your friend wants to hang out and you've already planned to do absolutely nothing on your day off. Tell her you're not interested. Don't say you already have plans or you're tired. Just tell her nah. She'll understand.
Assertiveness is a skill that takes time to master. If you are not naturally inclined to stand up for yourself, it's okay. But sis, you have to protect yourself from the negativity. With practice, it'll flow a lot easier. I have faith in you. Life is too short to be a doormat.
Next, Learn How To Chase the Glow Up.