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How can you become more assertive?

Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people's rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passively accepting 'wrong'. It is not power seeking nor is it putting other people down. Lots people do not assert themselves because they believe they are less important that everyone else. Who is going listen to me? Don't let everyone else have all the goodies. You are as good and as equal as all.

Valuing yourself and your rights

Most people struggle with assertiveness because they do not understand themeselves. You need to get to know yourself. To perform at your full potential your needs and wants need to be met. Don’t wait for some one to tell you what you need. You know what you need by what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Trust your gut and your vibes. If something doesn't feel right for you in a situation, listen to yourself. Once you are clear on your needs you must communicate them if that is required. You deserve to feel good and have a right to protect yourself. People including your line manager or your friend or your partner can’t read your mind. Most people are glad they know how to treat you and by telling them you are helping them to be better.

Example of values could be: Positive work environment, To feel heard, To feel seen, Loyalty

Peaceful and harmonious relationships, Self Expression, Integrity, Fun, Me time, Self Love

Self Care, Romance, Personal Space, Respect, Helpful Feedback, Acknowledgement for the work you do

Self-Reflection Exercise:

  1. Give yourself a nice quiet space. Get your journal and pen.

  2. Ask yourself what are my values?

  3. What do I need and want to feel happy at work, in my relationships, in life?

  4. Once you are clear on your values, ask yourself, are these values visible in my life?

  5. If they are not, who do I need to talk to in order to create that value together?

Self Belief is a part of assertiveness

People with good self-belief know their values and honour them. Self-Belief helps you to recognise that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Give yourself the right to stick up for yourself and stick to it. If you don’t feel you have good self-belief, this can be turned around. You are good enough to do that. Usually the people who have been knocked down are the greatest lovers, creators & leaders and they need to be at the top. Right now we have a lot of the Blind leading the Blind in work environments, in the government, in the world and that needs to stop. We need the leaders who lead with their heart. When you shine, when you start to believe in yourself, you help another to do the same. You are no good to us playing small with that loving heart. You are the person who we are waiting for to step up!

Self- Reflection Exercise:

  1. What am I naturally good at? (When you are naturally good at something, you can forget that it is a gift, and because it is easy for you, you don’t acknowledge it. We need to acknowledge ourselves and value ourselves.)

  2. What are my strengths?

  3. What are my biggest achievements?

  4. What is the one compliment I hear the most about myself?

While self-confidence is an important aspect of assertiveness, it's crucial that you make sure that it doesn't develop into a sense of self-importance. Your rights, thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires are just as important as everyone else's, but not more important than anyone else's.

Remember the reason you are working on your self-belief, is so you can help your team, your colleagues, your family, your clients etc. You are not helping anyone without your light turned on ! Let’s turn on that light.

Acknowledge that you can’t control others behaviours

If someone gets angry or aggressive, try not to react in the same way to them. You can only control your behaviour. As long you as are not reacting and getting aggressive then you have the right to say what you want. Before you enter the conversation, expect a good response.

Express yourself in a Positive way

It is important to say what is on your mind but you must do so sensitively and constructively. It better to say it when you are in calm confident place and not fearing a negative response. We get what we feel! If we come from a place of fear, that is what manifests. We are often terrified that we will be crucified for asking for what we want. Maybe you have a history with this person and they always respond negatively. Let those past reactions go, and imagine a positive one. Allow the person to be them in the here and now.

Self Reflection Exercise:

  1. Breathe into the fear of talking to this person.

  2. Calm yourself. It is your job to be calm. Listen to some music that calms you.

  3. Instead of fearing the outcome, do the opposite, expect a positive outcome. Imagine the person being calm before you speak with them. If you can imagine them exploding, you can imagine them calm. Prepare in advance your key message and the language you will use.

  4. Be present and see them in the here and now. Do not look at person on their past because that is what you will get. Ensure you are standing in your power. Eye contact.

  5. If the person is still same, stay calm, do not react. Use the broken record trick - repeat what you need at the same tone. Your calmness is a super power. Fogging is used when someone becomes aggressive and you find a way to agree a little.

Be open to Criticism and Compliments

Accept both Positive and Negative feedback. You must be open to both. If you do not agree with negative feedback you can communicate that without getting defensive or angry. Try to see it in helpful way. Change your perspective. Most the time people are helping us for our highest good but we can trigger because it can hit an old wound.

Self-Reflection exercise:

  1. Ask yourself, What is this person trying to teach me?

  2. Are they trying to help me in their own way?

  3. Is this something I do need to improve?

  4. What did they suggest I do?

  5. Will I do it with an open mind?

  6. Accept your mistakes but do not take the blame.

Positive Self-inquiry when receiving praise and compliments

People often struggle with responding to praise and compliments, especially those with lower self-esteem as they may feel inadequate or that the positive comments are not justified. It is important to give positive feedback to others when appropriate but also to react appropriately to positive feedback that you receive.

Self Reflection Exercise:

  1. Notice when someone gives you a compliment and say thank you, affirming that you received it.

  2. Do not say “ah it was nothing” or “talk yourself down”.

  3. Allow yourself to receive it

  4. What is the compliment you received this week?

Negative inquiry is a way to respond to more negative exchanges such as receiving criticism

Dealing with criticism can be difficult, remember that any criticism received is just somebody's opinion. Negative enquiry is used to find out more about critical comments and is a good alternative to more aggressive or angry responses to criticism. It is just one opinion or perspective so don’t let it completely consume you. Get the information off them. Then you will know if they are being helpful or just talking you down.

Self Reflection Exercise:

  1. Ask people more questions about the feedback

  2. Ask them what could you do to improve that?

  3. What did you do well?

  4. Ask other people for their feedback.


@carmellifecoaching I help people increase their self-belief and align their life with their core values. When your values are met, you automatically feel more fulfilled and happier in your work, relationships and life. To work with me see my services page for more details. Follow me on instagram and facebook for more tips. For more about me, please see

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