A Simple Mind Hack To Achieve Assertiveness

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Are you a people pleaser?

Are you afraid to express what you truly think and feel?

Do you often say “yes” when you really mean “no”?

If you have social anxiety, you fear and desire to avoid rejection and judgment more than anything else, and will do everything in your power to please people and get love and recognition.

But what if I told you that people also appreciate honesty?

And what if I asked you to look at assertiveness as honesty?

Is honesty an important value to you?

If you replied yes to the last question, keep reading and consider this:

The next time you are tempted to say “yes” when you really mean “no”, remember how much you value honesty.

Seeing assertiveness as honesty will make it easier to tell another person how you truly feel.

Of course, the risk of rejection and judgment is still there, but the way I see it is that if someone doesn’t respect my most important values (honesty being one of them) and personal choices, I don’t really want to connect with them in the first place.

You will never be liked by everyone, so it is better to choose to have relationships with people who are in line with your essential values. This might mean having less friends, but it also means that your connections will be much more fulfilling.

Here’s one of my all-time favorite quotes, written by Elena Danel, a fantastic spiritual healer and teacher who I was blessed to meet with on my path:

“Follow your inner essence, it will lead you to the essence of fellow humans with whom you will connect and live in true harmony.”

I often remember this quote when I’m having a hard time with assertiveness and respecting my own choices and feelings.

Assertiveness Does Not Equal Aggressiveness

People often misinterpret assertiveness as aggressiveness, especially when struggling with social anxiety and being afraid to bother people. However, they are two completely different conducts.

Check out a few examples of the difference between assertive, aggressive and passive behavior in the table below.

People with social anxiety most often fall in the passive behavior category, but some might also develop aggressive patterns as a form of compensation for low self-esteem.

Passive Behavior Aggressive Behavior Assertive Behavior
Stays in the corner and doesn’t express opinions at all. Becomes angry and attacks the other person’s opinions. Clearly states an opinion, but is respectful of others beliefs.
Body language is withdrawn and slumped. Body language is rigid and may enter another’s space. Body language is relaxed and open.
Avoids making eye contact. Glaring stares at the person. Makes eye contact with others.
No self-value or self-esteem. Feels superior and knows it all. Considers him or herself as valuable as others.
Doesn’t know how to set goals or reach them. May reach goals no matter what he/she says or does, even at the expense of hurting other people. Sets goals and reaches them.

As you can see above, there’s a big difference between each behavior. Assertive behavior is usually admired by people, but it may not be initially accepted, especially by people who have been used to taking advantage of your passivity and lack of confidence.

The key to assertiveness, mutual understanding, respect, and good communication lies in honestly expressing your opinions and feelings in a kind and compassionate manner.

If someone is not kind to you despite your kindness and respect, it means they are fighting their own inner battle.  Don’t take their reaction personally because it has nothing to do with you.

In my experience, being open and honest really pays off in the long run.

Obviously, there are exceptions: you don’t want to tell your boss you don’t feel like working today. But hopefully you get the idea. Use your common sense!

How does this mind hack work for you? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask any questions!

Thank you for taking time to read my post! If you have found my article helpful, please share it on your favorite social media sites and spread the love!

If you’d like to overcome social anxiety and find out how to transform your thinking patterns and core beliefs, you are invited to check out my book “Bye bye, Social Anxiety”. This is not one of the many short and superficial e-books you can find all over the internet. I have put a lot of work in it and I’m confident it will help you find inner peace and live a meaningful social life.
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Barbara

After struggling with social anxiety for many years and finding a way out, I created freefromsocialanxiety.com to share the best and most useful information I gathered over time, in order to help others find ways of overcoming social anxiety, building lasting confidence, and developing social skills.

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Ashley St.Clair - 10 months ago

I love the idea about viewing assertiveness as honesty! The first piece of advice I got three years ago when I began a management position, was from a friend who knew how I normally interact with people: “Be assertive.” I appreciated the advice but was unsure how to be assertive without coming across as mean. Over time, I’ve developed my own leadership style, but I think if I had realized three years ago that I could equate assertiveness with honesty, I may have been able to be assertive with a little more ease and a little less worry. 🙂

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    Barbara - 10 months ago

    Hi Ashley, thanks for your comment! Coming across as mean is one of the most common concerns we have when we want to be assertive. Or we are afraid people will reject us and that we will create a conflict. Realizing what an important value honesty is to me has definitely helped me a lot in becoming more assertive and less anxious about expressing myself. It’s great to hear you’ve found your own way of being assertive too!

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