Speaking up and the ability to act assertively is a common challenge for anyone struggling with self-esteem. Assertiveness is expressing ones needs and desires in an effective and respectable manner. When we avoid speaking up and expressing how we feel or what we need, we are sabotaging our self-esteem and allowing negative feelings to build up internally.
The way we communicate with others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. When you don’t speak up for yourself, it gives others the impression that you have little self-respect. The same is true when you express yourself in a flippant or aggressive manner, people stop listening and lose respect. However, when feelings are effectively communicated, others hear you. This creates healthy relationships and increases confidence to manage feelings, thus building self-esteem.
Are You Speaking Up?
Passivity, not expressing yourself, is a killer when it comes to building self-esteem. Holding it in, fearing what others will say, letting others control what you say, do or want to do, is essentially allowing them to walk all over you like an emotional “doormat”. Over time, passive individuals become tired of not being heard. They can chose to act assertively, stay in their self-deprecating shell or take it out on others. With the right tools, assertiveness can be your go-to method and chances are your self-esteem will improve tremendously.
Assertiveness Techniques: How to Speak Up
The Sandwich Technique
Put your request in between two positives; think of it like the sticky peanut butter in between two slices of bread. For example, expressing your feelings to a friend about feeling ignored:
Positive: “Hi ______ I have really missed you lately, your friendship really means a lot to me.”
Request: “I would really love to spend more one-on-one time with you. Can we try to set some time up in the next week or two to have dinner?”
Positive: “We always seem to have a great time together.”
The “I Feel” Technique.
This classic technique is extremely effective in expressing your feelings to another person.
I feel ____________, when you ____________could you please ____________ (request).
Don’t forget, you have an opinion, you have feelings and you have needs. Try something new this week and speak up with these assertiveness techniques.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.