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.”
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.
|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|Body language is withdrawn and slumped.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!
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