Are your relationships struggling?
Do you have difficulty communicating your needs or wants?
Do you let things build up until you explode?
If this is you, you are not alone! There are millions of people who feel misunderstood, rejected, abused, and criticized by their spouse, life partner, family, and friends. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can change these feelings by learning how to apply assertive communication skills into your daily encounters with others. It’s simple really, but it does take practice, just like with anything else you want to become good at.
Assertiveness is a communication skill that allows each person in a relationship to feel heard, understood, respected, and loved. Often times when one practices assertiveness there will be less fighting and more satisfaction in a relationship. Assertiveness says, “I value you and I value myself.”
Relationship problems are often a result of poor communication skills. Once you learn healthy communication skills, however, your relationships and mental health will start improving as well. So why wait any longer. Start improving your relationships and well-being with these simple tips..
Always listen to what the other person has to say first without interrupting.
Yes, I know this is hard when there is so much that you have to say as well. However, nothing will get accomplished with both parties yelling at each other. Take your turn to speak. And here is a great tip, after the other person is done speaking, reframe what he or she just said. How do you do that? Here is an example..
Speaker 1: “Your mother never has nothing nice to say to me and you never have anything to say about it. I have tried everything and she still gives me the cold shoulder.”
Speaker 2: Instead of getting offensive, speaker 2 responds with, “So it sounds like you would like me to say something to my mother about how she’s been treating you.”
What would usually happen is Speaker 2 would get upset and start yelling before Speaker 1 finished because they have had this conversation many times before. Yet, for some reason the topic continues to come up. The reason, the issue has not been resolved appropriately. However, with the “reframe approach” speaker 1 now feels heard and the situation will more than likely end (once speaker 2 stays true to his word).
Speak your true feelings.
Often times we don’t say how we really feel, instead we talk around it, ignore it, or blame someone else for the way we feel. Here are a few common examples, “I don’t want to talk about it” or “Nothing is wrong.” In order for your life and your relationships to improve, it’s necessary to talk about your feelings. Otherwise, your “hidden” feelings may turn into a mental illness, a divorce, or many other unresolved issues. Just remember you have the right to your feelings.
Don’t take it personally.
Everyone has their moments of anger, sadness, frustration, etc. and many times it has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them. However, the quickest way to make it your problem is to get angry with them for believing that they aren’t telling you something or that you have done something wrong. If the problem has anything to do with you it’s their responsibility to share that information with you. However, until then, don’t take their feelings personal.
Do not allow verbal assaults.
The most important thing to remember about assertive communication is, you will never let anyone put you down verbally, emotionally, mentally, or physically. Why? Because you respect yourself and the other person, that’s why! Allowing another person to put you down is an invitation for future arguments, mental illness, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation for improving yourself. Once someone has called you a name, hit you, or whatever, it’s time to put an end to it right then and there. You need to assertively express yourself and not stand for another opportunity for that to happen again. If it does happen again, it will be time to honor yourself enough to leave the situation.
These are just a few steps you can take to start improving your communication skills. Once you stay true to these simple steps your relationships and well-being will start to change for the better.