Becoming more assertive is a liberating feeling. Here are some techniques to help you achieve a more assertive position.Check out my thoughts on What is assertiveness? if you need to put this article into context.
Step One - Understand your triggers
It may well be that the reason you are not feeling so assertive in a scenario, or with a certain person stems to a significant moment in your life. A strict school teacher, a domineering boss, you being 'top-dog'? So it's perfectly natural to feel less confident and assertive in some cases.
Take a moment to reflect back to what may cause you to submit or be less confident. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and track back in time to when you may have felt you did not assert yourself.
Who was is with?
What were the reasons?
You feel unconfident with strong people- by tracking back you work out that the reason stems back to a strict school teacher. The sensation you feel as an adult, is similar to how that teacher made you feel. So when you encounter similar people as an adult it causes you to react compliantly.
In this scenario you are perceived as being SUBMISSIVE
You snap when being blamed for something you didn't do- by tracking back you identify that you really hate being blamed for something that you haven't done. When accused you snap very easily, which you now realise only strengthens the other persons perception of your guilt! Which you defend by snapping, and so the cycle continues.
In this scenario you are perceived as being AGGRESSIVE
NB: Your triggers do not always have to be from childhood, they may be from recent situations too. And with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and strangers
By understanding your triggers you can identify why you react the way you do.
Step Two - Choose your reactions
Having identified your triggers you can then plan how you will react, should the situation happen again.
When feeling unconfident, like SCENARIO 1, what things will you say, how will you respond?
So if blamed for something, like in SCENARIO 2, what will you say, how will you react, what will you do?
These can be planned in advance. Map out some phrases and things you can do to be more assertive in that scenario.
Step Three - New mentality
Dare to believe. Adopt a new mentality - 'I can choose my reactions' 'I have the ability ' 'I can assert myself', this doesn't always mean that I will get my way, but I can express my views and opinions cooly and calmly. I consider how I will react in advance of challenging scenarios I face.
Step Four - New behaviours
I visualise what I would look like, sound like and feel at my most assertive. I consider what assertive people that I know say and do, and I replicate this.
I choose to adopt this new behaviour, as opposed to fall into my default (aggressive / passive / submissive )behaviours.