As a professional woman, I’ve often struggled with finding ways to become more assertive. The self-confidence that may seem to be an innate skill for some is more of a muscle that needs to be exercised for many people. Women that have an overabundance of self-confidence run the risk of being labeled aggressive or confrontational, causing us to unintentionally pull back from our more forceful side. I’ve seen first-hand how small steps towards becoming more assertive can build your self-confidence in all areas of your life.
Claim Your Self-Confidence
Women face a variety of issues on a daily basis: anxiety, work transitions, relationship drama to name a few. Some days, it seems as though the entire world is out to steal your thunder, and you can feel backed into a corner or marginalized almost out of existence. When you are feeling this way is when it’s important to take the small first steps towards becoming more assertive and claiming the self-confidence that you need to feel more in control of your life, your work and even more in control with your finances and your family.
Get What You Want
No, being assertive doesn’t mean you have to be a bully, but it does mean that you need to fully understand what you’re trying to accomplish and the steps that it takes to get there. Sometimes, simply making a longer-term plan and being forceful enough to bring others alongside your vision can bring a huge boost to your self-confidence. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to tackle a big project at work all by yourself — it could be as simple as standing up for yourself in a group of friends and telling them that you truly despise that Mexican restaurant they want to visit every week, and just want Italian for once! What matters is that you’re taking steps to claim your right to put forward your own view of the world and stating that it has value.
Talking it Through
Counseling can help you provide a feedback loop or a lens through which you can see your own life from a different perspective. Working with a counselor can provide you the safe haven that you need to exercise that assertiveness muscle, so when you get out into the “real world” you’ll feel fully equipped to make yourself heard. Each step you take forward can help reduce your overall anxiety levels and give you the mental freedom to ask for what you need to become successful.
Reaching Up and Reaching Out
One of the beautiful byproducts of being assertive is that you’re able to help others deal with feelings of inadequacy or lack of self-confidence. When you feel empowered, those around you will see the glow and want to be a part of your world. Helping others see that being able to confidently share thoughts and feelings is beautiful — not ugly and confrontational — not only benefits your self-worth, but can help friends and co-workers move towards self-confidence as well.