Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

How To Become Assertive

Applicable to romantic relationships, but also to work relationships, relationships with friends, family, etc. Exact steps on how to become assertive.

A beautiful proud woman asking her self how to become assertive

How to become assertive (a short guide):

  1. Understand that words are just sounds. Don’t be afraid of the sound.
  2. Don’t be afraid of the reaction, but withstand it.
  3. Make an effort to not be aggressive in your demands.
  4. Express your wishes.
  5. Be clear and precise about what you want.
  6. Be as persistent as you need to be.
  7. Bonus: Don’t be unreasonable.

How a lack of assertiveness arises

An atmosphere was cultivated in your house in which, for several reasons, you do not need or must not ask for anything for yourself. Maybe you were yelled at when you asked for something, maybe there was no one to fulfill your wishes.

Mother and child

You may also have grown up in a family atmosphere where such values ​​were cultivated: modesty or even rebuke if you ask for “too much.” Of course, it can always be identification with one of the parents, who behaves similarly, or some other reason.

If you grew up in such circumstances, you can easily later become someone who never stands up for themselves or asks for anything for themselves.

  • Every change in that dynamic causes resistance in us. Resistance is manifested through emotions such as fear, discomfort, and anger when we need to do something like that. Emotions are then followed by mechanisms: rationalization of why we don’t need it, suppression, etc.

Although you and I both like to think that you are actually a good person because you are not asking for anything for yourself, the truth is that you are afraid to ask for anything for yourself.

Conscious and Unconscious Mind

This is just for information and for you to experience that A-ha moment. It is much more important to know:

How it look to other people when you are not assertive and don’t ask for anything for yourself.

People actually don’t like you when you don’t ask for anything for yourself

Shy woman

To understand this, you must first understand human nature. And human nature arose as a result of external circumstances.

We know about people that they have been hungry and threatened since the beginning of mankind. Our natural adaptation put two and two together and concluded that the most important thing is to have a lot of resources at our disposal in order to survive. The more we had, the better our chances of survival.

Logically, in order to achieve a lot, it was necessary to fight for ourselves. So it can be said that it is only natural for humans to fight for themselves and to take care of themselves as much as they can, because that triggers our ancient trigger: survival.

Attractive man sitting

That’s why, when someone doesn’t claim for themselves even what belongs to them, the people around them don’t perceive it as nice but as unnatural. And we have resistance to unnatural things.

And unfortunately, not only that.

When someone isn’t assertive and doesn’t ask for himself, we have the background impression that this person wants to destroy themselves. From that comes a new natural trigger: OK. If you want to destroy yourself, it means that something is wrong with you and that I should either get away from you or take all your resources. When you don’t need them anyway.

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And the third thing people see in you when you don’t fight for yourself is weakness. So, because you don’t fight for yourself, you don’t become attractive, on the contrary. You become an unattractive partner because weak people are very demanding people. We have to take care of them; we have to give them our resources and protect them, etc. They will be more of a burden than a pleasure.

So, when you don’t fight for yourself, you are not wonderful to people.

  • You are unnatural to people
  • You make them feel that they should avoid you or take advantage of you, and again:
  • You create the feeling that they will have problems with you.

So, being assertive is a matter of natural behavior. Not being assertive triggers negative alarms in people.

  • Only people who are not good for us while we are in such a state will stay and agree to our character like this. Which brings us to the next item.
Man Successfully Overcome rejection

“Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring others’ feelings. It means that you are willing to stand up for yourself fairly and respectfully without being aggressive or disrespectful toward others.” Jim Rohn

Here’s why people actually like assertive people

Because they are natural, as I said. And because they seem strong.

People who ask for something for themselves, act as if they need something, and this shows that they are valuable to themselves. They want to get more for their self-preservation, to progress, to protect themselves, and to do better. The bottom line is that they are fighting for themselves. Don’t forget: we only fight for what is valuable to us.

So, if we are assertive and ask for ourselves, we are actually sending a message that we are valuable.
And if we send such a message to people, they will believe us.
They don’t think too much about themselves: why is this man self-important? They just pick up the signal that we are valuable and act accordingly.

A beautiful woman

And not only that. When we act like we are valuable, others think they will get something valuable from us. Protection, resources, etc. or that they will learn from us how to respect themselves. That our value will spill over to them, that he will get good advice, etc.

People really like to spend time with people who respect themselves. Because they seem like someone they can ultimately benefit from.

You will find compatible people for you: Whether you are assertive or not

If you are someone who doesn’t ask for anything, you probably have found or are finding partners who are satisfied with that kind of relationship.

We fit in logically with certain partners. If we do not ask for anything for ourselves, we will find a partner whose nature is to give us nothing.

How to avoid getting too attached to someone

We have that infallible sensor in us that looks for people who are compatible with us and people who remind us of figures from our childhood (and let’s not forget: you were created like that precisely because of such figures).

So you will find someone with whom you can continue that dynamic of not asking (from your side) and not giving (from their side).

  • Maybe in our imagination there are people who will see us clearly, and despite the fact that we don’t ask for anything for ourselves, they will recognize our needs and give us the things we need. But things don’t work that way.

If we don’t ask for anything for ourselves, even if they want to give us something, they will stop. Because it’s not in human nature to waste their resources on someone who doesn’t even expect it from them.

  • Other people (those who want to give us things that belong to us) will find our behavior strange and will leave us. Therefore, only people will remain who are comfortable with you being so non-assertive.
Man and woman

Why does a person have to go through bad relationships till they meet “the one”?

They don’t want to give you anything, either

People who are comfortable with this dynamic (that you don’t ask for anything for yourself) also have their own reasons for being like that. The reasons range from practiced patterns, through opportunism, to narcissistic personalities.

Therefore, the fourth factor is that people who do not ask for anything for themselves usually have partners who aggressively defend their right not to give the other person anything.

What does it look like when they don’t want to give you anything: They grumble, shout, ignore your needs, forget (passive aggression), threaten, intimidate if necessary, etc. This, of course, creates a new complicating factor in asking for something for yourself.

Of course, some additional forces are at work in us when we engage in this kind of dynamic in which we do not ask for anything, but for now we have these instances:

  • We are afraid to ask for anything or expect to get nothing
  • People find us strange because of this and they feel the need to use us or reject us
  • We unfailingly find such people, to whom such dynamics are acceptable.
  • And they very aggressively (not necessarily open aggression, maybe also passive aggression) defend their positions, refusing to give you anything.

The bottom line is that we are afraid to ask for something or think that no one will give us anything (rationalization), so there is no point in asking.

What are the qualities of a good partner?

Black woman

How to Become assertive?

  1. Understand this dynamic and that your fear probably comes from childhood.
  2. There are thoughts that follow your decision to not stand up for yourself. These thoughts serve to solidify the decision and make it last. (I don’t need it; He probably doesn’t have time for me; She can’t give it to me, etc.)
  3. Understand that you have in front of you a person who participates in that dynamic.
  4. When you understand all this, try to change it. Try asking for something for yourself.

Now, you are obviously prevented by the fear of their reaction, so let’s explain this a little better.

People are divided into three varieties:

  1. People who will absolutely refuse to give you what you ask for yourself
  2. People who won’t be thrilled but will still agree after a while
  3. People who will immediately agree to give you what you ask for.

The first variant of people are people who are absolutely not interested in your wishes and do only what they want. The other two variants are okay.

People walking

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What are you afraid of?

  • You are afraid of words. And words are actually sounds.
  • You are afraid of change. In your case, change is necessary.
  • You are afraid of being left behind. If they leave you, they belong to that group of people who only respect themselves. And you really don’t want such people in your life.
  • You are afraid of their reaction. If their reaction is physical aggression, you should not be in that relationship. If their reaction is not dangerous but just unpleasant, try to stand it.

So, for now, we have two things:

  1. Stop being afraid to ask for yourself and
  2. Create at least a small capacity to hear rejection or even harsher things.

Now it remains for us to ask for ourselves

There is, of course, a better and a worse way to ask for ourselves, but in this text, we will not deal with bad ideas, only good ones. And a good way to fight for ourselves and ask them to give us something we want is:

  1. Non-aggressive
  2. Clear and
  3. Concrete

1. Non-aggressiveness

Woman

It is important to mention this because people who never ask for anything for themselves often cannot articulate the other part of themselves and do not know how to be assertive. They think that it must be the opposite of being scared—aggressive. To have only black or white available. Realistically, you don’t have to be bold to be assertive or get what you want. That other, unknown part of you can be calm and composed, expressing things politely and gently.

  • Here, I suggest an exercise to think about this question: In what way does asking for yourself harm other people? You will see how unusual and unfounded this assumption is in anything real. Maybe you have never even thought about it.

2. The second condition is to be clear that you want and need something.

For people who hide their needs, this takes work.

Hiding is their spontaneous, automatic mechanism. It must be unlearned, and a new mechanism must be learned. Nothing we learn from the beginning is easy, but you have to start somewhere.

  • It may be easier for you if you know that you are not hurting anyone by expressing your wish. Maybe they won’t want to make it happen for you, but your desire can’t hurt them. Feel free to express your wishes.

What is the best way to gain self-confidence?

3. And the third condition is to be specific about what you need.

Attractive man working

In plain terms, don’t expect other people to read your mind or guess. For example, a sentence like “I want more love” won’t do the job. But a specific sentence like “I want you to hug me more” is a concrete request, and it will change things.

  • The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the person in front of you to understand the message. In the same way, be specific about everything you want.

The hardest part remains: what kind of reaction you’ll get.

Well, I’ll tell you right away: probably very dissatisfied and angry. They may ignore your needs or have some other negative reaction. Considering that you are now changing the rules you may have formed with that person, they will not be happy that you are asking for something for yourself now.

And watch this: That person doesn’t even have to be angry.

People are creatures of habit. They will forever want to maintain their habits because they fear that if you change, your relationship with them will change too, (which is always a possibilFity). And because of that, they may react vehemently and resist these changes, making it look like anger.

Red flags in relationships | Do toxic relationships get better?

And here, we should add the fourth thing, which is persistence

A beautiful woman is standing

Precisely because of those resistances that I mentioned, even after you seek something for yourself, they will reappear and force you to give up your plan.

Resistance is there to protect the old patterns because the new ones seem too unfamiliar and scary. Many questions and doubts arise there.

But also in this second round (the first was that you finally dared to ask for yourself), try to break your resistance and remain persistent in your demands. I will write more about this, but for this text about assertiveness, I think this instruction is enough.

How To End a Toxic Relationship With Someone You Love

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