How To Be More Assertive – The Top 7 Strategies and Why Power Posing May Not Work…

By Admin | Personal Development

Oct 08
How to be more assertive

How to be more Assertive…

It’s a question that many people ask themselves especially after they have had an interaction in which they believe they did not stand up for themselves the way the wanted.

I had a friend once who was as strong as a tiger in almost every way and could be incredibly assertive in almost all situations. She even bullied a professor in college into changing her final class grade from a B to an A (true story).

But when I saw her interact with her father the one time he visited for parent weekend she turned meek as a mouse and I couldn’t believe the transformation that came over her…

I became fascinated with the topic of assertiveness that weekend, and being a double major in psychology and philosophy and throughout graduate school and the course of many years since then, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a great deal about assertiveness.

People aren’t born either assertive or passive – they’re shaped by many experiences over time that influences the mental models they develop about assertiveness, communication and whether or not it’s acceptable to express feelings, wants and needs.

Some people had parents that raised them to be accommodating and to put the needs of others first. The problem here is that this can become a pattern of avoiding conflict and only seeking to meet the needs of others which in the end is harmful because we all have wants and needs which must be met, at least some of the time.

Think of unmet wants and needs as pressure building up inside a tea kettle overtime with no way to be released…

In the end, it’s you that ends up harmed by the internal pressure of the unreleased steam. In fact, your health can be negatively affected, so it’s important to work on developing the tools to increase confidence to be able to speak up and be assertive without being aggressive so that we can appropriately express our emotions, wants and needs in the right situations whether that’s at home, work, in career situations, etc.

A problem that often occurs when you aren’t assertive is that you start to feel like others are taking advantage of you. It’s a strange predicament because you also feel like others will be upset with you if you stand up for yourself and so you end up feeling uncomfortable.

Sometimes people in this kind of situation resent the person that they are saying yes to even though it is their decision which puts them in the predicament because they feel “forced” to say yes, but sometimes its all in their own mind due to past conditioning.

How to be more assertive

Becoming assertive without tipping the scale into aggressiveness is a part of maintaining good mental health for yourself. Having good boundaries where you respect your own wants, needs, and emotions helps you to feel better about yourself and allows you to appropriately prioritize your own desires…


Here Are The Top 7 Ways To Know You Need To Work On Being More Assertive & What To Do About It.

Watch for these signs and Practice these Skills on How to be more assertive:


  1. Trouble saying “No.” When you have trouble asserting yourself you often find yourself saying yes more often than you want to. You may find yourself feeling like a victim because to you it seems as if you’ve been pushed into doing things you don’t want to do even though you’re the one who said yes in the first place. Afterall, it’s their fault for asking, right? No, it’s your fault for failing to say the simple word, “No.”
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – Recognize that your difficulty with saying no is a result of past conditioning. At first, it may be difficult to change, but once you gain some momentum it will get easier. Practice saying “No” to small requests. Keep in mind that no one can agree to everything. Work on changing your beliefs about saying no- Remember your wants, needs and feelings are important! In order to be healthy, you actually have to prioritize some of your wants, needs, and feelings which means setting limits and being assertive.
  2. You fear rejection. How To Be More Assertive Solution – Increasing and practicing self-confidence is the solution to this problem. As you worry less about rejection you will become more assertive. Changing your beliefs about rejection and recognizing that rejection doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad can help change the negative feelings associated with it. This is one of the primary reasons people aren’t assertive (fear of rejection). It’s a particularly powerful fear that is often picked up during childhood.
  3. Your needs never seem to be met. Do you find yourself wishing that others would pay as much attention to your needs as you do to theirs? It doesn’t work that way. If you’re too accommodating to people sometimes they don’t treat you with respect because you have no boundaries and so they walk all over you.
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – Set limits with other people. This is a skill that requires practice. Start small, say no to something with low importance for you to make it easy at first. This will help get the ball rolling to ensure you’re meeting your own needs. Consider enlisting others to help you.
  4. You find that taking responsibility is difficult. People who have difficulty with assertiveness often have trouble accepting responsibility. Can you accept criticism and compliments? If not, you’re probably not very assertive.
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – Practice taking responsibility for your actions by setting limits and increasing your self-confidence. As you take more responsibility your self-confidence will increase and it will become easier to be assertive as well.
  5. You are conflict avoidant. When you are mistreated do you avoid doing anything about it? Would you rather make peace regardless of the cost?
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – Learn to embrace conflict. Conflict is a natural part of life and human relationships. It requires an ability to tolerate internal distress and accept the belief that it is ok for people to disagree. The principle is to start small so that you gain success with small items and then build your confidence and success from there.
  6. You say, “I’m sorry” quite a bit. Apologies have their time and place, but you probably apologize for things that are not your fault at all.
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – Practice going a full day without saying “I’m sorry”. Keep track of when you say it. Notice what situations, feelings, and beliefs serve as triggers for you. Continue to incorporate practice periods into your life so that you become mindful of your patterns and gradually lessen your use of this two-word term.
  7. You hold back on sharing your opinion. Do you ever choose the destination when you are going out with friends?
    • How To Be More Assertive Solution – You do have an opinion and it matters. Express your opinion. Practice expressing your opinion and increase the number of times you do so by a small number each day. Reward yourself as you keep expressing yourself.

The key principles are to start small to create easy victories, track your progress and celebrate your wins. If you backslide there is no need to punish yourself, you had more than enough of that growing up, time to let go of that mindset…

The advice on assertiveness I’ve given all has scientific backing. I want to show how difficult it can be for people to find good information out there…

Now I want to show how difficult it can be for people to find good information out there when they look for help on how to be more assertive…

Let’s say that you type into google or youtube the search term “how to be more assertive”

You might find this Tony Robbins video which looks great and is very compelling. What Tony doesn’t tell you is that the information he is talking about comes from the work of Amy Cuddy.  I was so fascinated by this topic a few years ago that I decided to actually look at the original research which left me with some questions about the validity of the research findings (not the author’s integrity)…

1st, here’s Tony’s video…

Now let’s take a look at a recent article that examines whether or not power poses, as described by Tony and so many others and based on the work of Amy Cuddy, has real-world results…‘Power Poses’ Don’t Actually Work. Try These Confidence-Boosting Strategies Instead – TIME A TED talk delivered by Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and a co-author of the study, has been viewed an astounding 43 million times. And no wonder. As the paper’s introduction promises: “…a person can, by assuming two …

…So, as you can see this article summarizes the results of additional research showing that power poses may not do much to increase assertiveness in the real world and have the results that the original research seemed to indicate.

It’s very hard for the average person without a research background to separate out good advice from bad, and know that the results of one research study need to be replicated to see if the results hold true over a number of different trials. I have a big problem with the entire state of affairs with the self-help industry these days which in my own small way I’ll be trying to help with some course correction here and there…

All it takes is a very convincing charismatic person (and I don’t just mean Tony Robbins) to present information as if it’s true and then you have hundreds of thousands of people following flawed advice, believing its true and wondering what’s wrong with them when the technique doesn’t work. That’s a bad situation in my book.

In the end, assertiveness techniques, training, and skills all revolve around the idea that you are prioritizing yourself. It’s about recognizing that you are important and worth something in this world and that other people aren’t more worthy or worthwhile. When you always put the needs of others first your health will suffer. While there’s not an instant quick fix to assertiveness, there are time-tested strategies that work…Work on your assertiveness and you will become more respected by others, you own self-respect will increase and you will be both happier and healthier. So, here’s to you having a happier, healthier more assertive life!

You might be interested in checking out this article on Gaining Credibility even when you’re new

Share with me your thoughts about assertiveness and this article…


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