If you’re not a very self-confident person, chances are you’re also not very assertive. That’s because the two go hand-in-hand. According to the World English Dictionaryand assertive person is someone who is “confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views.” I would also add that when it comes to building your confidence, being assertive is courage in action.
The good news is, you can learn to be more assertive, and as you learn to claim your rights and make your views known you will also be building up your self-confidence.
Since this is the last installment in the 30 days of Confidence Building Challenge, I wanted to leave you with some examples of how being more assertive can also help you become more self-confident at the same time.
1. Being assertive increases your feelings of self-worth
One of the by-products of low self-confidence is a feeling of low self-esteem. You don’t think your opinions or thoughts are worth sharing because with your low self-esteem you don’t see how anyone could care about what you have to say.
Learning to be more assertive gives you the ability to speak up and share what’s on your mind. When you can do that, you’ll start to feel more confident as well.
2. Being more assertive will improve your relationships
This is a biggie, and if you get this it can totally change your life. Low self-confidence can really take a toll on your relationships. Here’s what I mean…
It’s one thing to be considerate of the other people in your life, but it’s not healthy for you to always be so passive that you let friends, family, and significant others walk all over you. You know what I mean — always giving in to whatever other people want, not speaking up and saying what you want, or answering with either “I don’t know” or “whatever you want is fine with me” when someone asks your opinion.
That’s what happens when you lack the confidence to speak up for yourself. (I know, because I did it for years and still have days where I consciously have to tell myself that it’s okay to say what I want and that I don’t have to agree with everyone else all the time.)
The other thing that happens is you put a lot of stress on your relationships by doing this because you end up stuffing all your emotions down and just going along with whatever is suggested.
When you learn to be assertive and speak up about what you want in your relationships, you not only gain more confidence, you also have much more equal and stable relationships where all parties involved are willing and able to make their feelings known without having to hid anything or pretend to be anything other than themselves.
3. Being more assertive gives you the freedom to ask for what you want
This is an extension of the point above…
In terms of building your self-confidence, this is pure gold. So many times there are things you want to say but don’t have the confidence to put them out there. Maybe you worry about the other person’s feelings (and don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying you should deliberately be insensitive or willing to hurt someone just to get your point across).
Maybe you worry that they’ll laugh at you or belittle your opinions somehow. (This was always my biggie, and something I still struggle with.)
Whatever your reason for hesitating is, when you can be more assertive you will find the confidence to just go ahead and ask for what you want, and deal with the feedback. Do it just once and you will feel just how freeing it is.
The other side effect to this is that not only will you have more confidence in yourself, but others will have more confidence in you too.
When you are able to say honestly and openly how you feel, you allow the people around you to interact honestly and openly with you too. It’s freeing for them as well because they will no longer have to try and guess how you are feeling because you now have the confidence to tell them exactly how you feel.
4. Being more assertive will make you feel more content
The more you are able to ask for what you want out of your life, the better the chance that you will get it. If you ask, and receive what you really want you can’t help but feel more content with your life. And when you are happy with how things are going, then you’ll feel more confident about it too.
5. Being more assertive gives you the confidence to help others
You probably didn’t set out to be someone other people follow, but I can tell you from experience that it is a real boost to your own self-confidence to hear someone say “If you can do it, then I can do it too.”
Confidence breeds confidence, and when you allow your own confidence to shine through and be an inspiration for someone else who is trying to build or re-build their self-confidence up, it will come back to you as well.
As someone who has always struggled with confidence issues, it still amazes me just how much of a confidence boost you can get from just having the courage to ask for what you want. You don’t have to be aggressive in your new-found assertiveness — calm confidence will get the job done just as well, if not better. And even if you don’t get what you want every time, you will still see an increase in your self-esteem from just making the effort to assert yourself.
If you do just one thing every day to be more assertive, you will soon notice a difference in the way you see yourself and in the way others see you and interact with you.
Reflecting on the past 30 days
I hope you’ve enjoyed this 30-part series on building courage and increasing self-confidence as much as I have. More importantly I hope you’ve learned a thing or two and started to put this knowledge into action. The confidence action tips are always a great place to start, but all the knowledge I shared over the past month will serve you well over time.
What has had the biggest impact on you? What tips and ideas have you found the most helpful? Those are the posts that you want to come back to again and again. (Click here for a list of all 30 posts)
Take a few minutes today to reflect on not only how far you’ve come, but more importantly how this simple 30-day challenge has influenced you and changed you for the better. What positive experiences have you had as a result of working on your confidence and courage throughout this month?