Do these scenarios sound familiar?..
You’re at a restaurant and don’t like your meal. Perhaps it’s too dry, over cooked, or salty. The waiter approaches you and asks you if everything is OK. “Yes” you mutter as you grumble to your self.
Your neighbour hosts a loud party – again. It’s ruining your sleeping pattern and causing you distress. You don’t say anything as you don’t want to fight with neighbours.
Your boss keeps asking you to do overtime at the last minute. You have plans, but don’t want to let them down so you reluctantly agree.
These are classic signs of passive behaviour. They make you feel you have no control over your life. You may appear happy on the outside, but resentment gnaws away inside.
Some people try to make up for their passive ways by being aggressive. They shout at the waiter for a bad meal, set fire to burning dog doo on their neighbours porch, or storm out of their jobs after launching a tirade at their boss.
Aggressive behaviour is not helpful either, and rarely resolves the situation adequately. It often creates enemies instead. You need to avoid passive AND aggressive behaviour, and be more assertive…
What is assertive?
Assertive is being confident and self assured without being aggressive or passive. Assertive people have the following characteristics…
Can express their thoughts and feelings in a calm and rational way
Listen to people’s point of view
Have open body language and good eye contact
Don’t act passively or aggressively
Someone wrongs you in some way. You feel aggrieved but avoid telling them because you don’t want to look aggressive, or you don’t want to risk conflict.
You remain silent whilst negative feelings build up. Their behaviour whirls around your head, making you feel more and more angry. Eventually you explode with rage.
The problems with passive-aggressive
Passive-aggressive behaviour is bad for your health. Bottled up feelings harm your mental and physical health. It also stresses you out, leaving you feeling miserable.
Passive-aggressive behaviour allows problems to escalate. People may not be aware they’re putting on you, and may do this more. They think you’re OK as you say nothing.
When you explode, you don’t usually deal with the problem. You may be so angry that you act in an irrational way. People may not hear your point of view. Instead they think you’re acting crazy, and don’t take you seriously.
It is difficult to be successful when you’re passive-aggressive because someone will always stand in the way of your goals. Also the stress can hinder your progress.
I remember once seeing a woman being served in McDonalds. The staff said they’d bring her burger to her to avoid her standing and waiting. She went to her seat and waited – and waited…
She must have stewed for around half an hour before approaching the counter in a rage. She complained she hadn’t received her food and now didn’t have time to eat. They were very apologetic, but now couldn’t remedy her situation. They could give her the burger, but not her time back.
If she’d have approached them after 10 minutes and politely but firmly asked where her burger was, they’d have quickly sorted it and everyone would be happy. She waited until she was angry and it was too late before having the confidence to complain. Her lack of assertiveness cost her a juicy burger.
How to be assertive
To be assertive you must summon up courage and confidence BEFORE you get angry. Whilst some people are naturally more inclined to be passive, aggressive or assertive, you can learn how to be assertive. You can do your own assertive training.
Want some assertiveness strategies? Here are some top tips to help you learn to be more assertive…
Be conscious of whether you are behaving passively, aggressively or assertively. If you find yourself being passive or aggressive, change to assertive.
Be honest and open about your thoughts and feelings.
Respect and listen to others thoughts and feelings.
Speak slowly and clearly.
Don’t cross your arms or legs. Have open confident body language. Putting your hands behind your back may help.
Lift your head slightly, rather than it bowed in a subservient way.
Make good eye contact.
If you feel angry, take a few slow deep breaths. This will quickly calm you.
Be fare. This means fare towards others AND yourself.
Close your eyes and imagine being someone you consider assertive. Imagine how they’d handle situations in your life. Feel what it’s like to be them.
Being assertive is a skill and you can learn how to be more assertive. Read these lessons every day and apply them to your life. After a while they’ll become second nature.
Once you learn how to be more assertive, your life will improve. You will experience less stress, and achieve more in everything you do. You’ll also be able to treat yourself to a nice juicy burger whenever you want one!
Want help being more assertive? My “Be More Assertive” Hypnosis MP3 changes your subconscious thinking to be more naturally assertive. Click the link below for more information…