Last week on Wednesday, I was privileged to be part of an invite-only birthday party for my next of kin. However, those invited were given room for one or two friends. It was an evening birthday party held in one of the most exclusive hotel in my hometown.
So on my way out, I passed by one of my friend’s house by the name Larry. Ironically, Larry had many work assignments to do but alinishow hana form. I took advantage of his quagmire and asked him to accompany me to the birthday party. We arrived earlier than expected. Not being used to these five-star hotels, we walked in through the front door with our eyes asking for permission from the front door guard. A hall had been booked on the fourth floor for the birthday event. On entering, we found a bunch of ladies and gentleman chitchatting and giggling in one section of the hall. After a few pleasantries, with my friend Larry tagging along, we took our seats by the window overlooking the Eldoret-Malaba highway.
Sooner than later, a short, dark-skinned and plump young man walked in dressed in a white shirt, blue trouser, black leather shoes and a marching bow tie. He walked past the group of people in front of our table and went straight to the left corner of the hall. After taking a seat, he inaudibly signaled the waiter who came running like a presidential escort guard. From where I was seated, I could hear the him ordering for one glass of mango juice. The waiter, a direct contrast of his customer in shape and height, disappeared into a door leading to another room –should be the kitchen and came out carrying a glass of fresh orange juice and served the young man without any explanation. Well, do not get me wrong, I said orange juice. However, not his order, the young man seated, happily drank the juice without much ado.
Many are the times we express non-assertive behavior in our lives, therefore hurt ourselves in the process, and end up not getting what we want. Non-assertive behaviour is expressed when an individual chooses not to be open with his or her feelings opting instead to be indirect and emotionally dishonest. An example of non-assertive behaviour is when someone tells you they are okey but that is not what their face expression says. Alternatively, someone could be telling you a sad story while smiling leaving his or her listeners confused on how to respond. Individuals expressing non-assertive behaviour usually get angry with themselves when they fail to get what they want by letting people choose for them. In other words, non-assertiveness is simply being passive. One ends being a doormat to many people. Such people usually free ride on the excuse that they are for peace and do not want confrontation in situations they have different opinions or do not want to express themselves openly.
Here are top 3 tips to Overcome Non-assertive Behaviour.
Tip 1#: Stop Shying
Shyness is a perfect companion for non-assertive behaviour. There is only one sure-fire way to overcome shyness. Reading articles on sites such as wikihow is good but it will not help you much if you do not take a personal initiative and break out of your comfort zone. Breaking out of your comfort zone means getting out of your anti-social closet by interacting more with people in situations you feel shy. Normally, whenever someone is in a situation that he or she feels shy, his or her first instinct is usually to stay quiet or leave the social setting.
However, for you to overcome, take a bold step and do the exact opposite by staying in situations you feel shy and try to speak up. As the old saying goes-practice makes perfect. Eventually you will master the courage to start up conversations and follow them through in front of people. Your newfound self-confidence will make you an assertive person.
Tip 2#: Stop Minding the Opinion of Others
When you start to be more concerned with the opinion of others than your own, you set the pace for pleasing people and becoming a doormat. Opinions are simply views or judgements over something. Opinions are not necessarily based on facts or knowledge but hearsay and partial truths. Always stand up and make your voice heard, regardless of what others will say about your newfound confidence. Some situations will require taking a certain action such as when your self-esteem is being attacked. It demands that you speak up against your would be enemies. Turn the negatives thrown at you into positives by always disowning the negatives. For instance, if someone tells you, “you will die poor”, tell them you do not believe them or ask them what makes them say so. In most cases, they will shut up or change topic. Stop minding about the opinion of others by getting into the habit of doing something extraordinary out of your normal demeanour. It could be changing the way you express yourself by speaking slowly and clearly. In being assertive the tone of your matters greatly. A timid,shaky voice does not portray assertiveness.
Tip 3#: Project a Confident Body Language
Besides word of mouth, our bodies can also communicate without uttering a single word. By looking at one’s body language, one can easily tell someone feelings on the inside. Most people will always look down whenever they are experiencing bad feelings. Interestingly, quite a number of people project this body language even when they are not experiencing bad feelings. Looking down when walking never projects a confident, outgoing body language. When walking, always ensure your head is held up high with your shoulders falling back. Avoid looking down when meeting people; rather look sideways than look down.
Learn to maintain eye contact when addressing or talking to people. Looking sideways and fidgeting never portrays a confident, assertive body language. One might say the elderly will consider this rude. I think it depends with where you come from. If that is the case, you can maintain eye contact when starting to speak or simply look at the nose bridge -hahaha and move your eyes to a particular spot when finishing your sentence. Oscillate between the listener’s nose bridge and your chosen spot until the conversation is over. Avoid anti-social body language such as walking or seating with crossed arms, speaking with hands over your mouth or face. An assertive body language commands respect and attention from your listeners and promotes resourceful social interactions. More so, it will help you overcome non-assertive behaviour.
Overcoming non-assertive behaviour is possible even to the most passive person out there. It calls for faith, practice and persistence on your part. Changes might not occur immediately, but with time, you might run for a parliamentary seat in your constituency. Practice on the above mentioned tips daily without fail by getting out and interacting with mothers, fathers, your brothers and sisters in the society. Stop always minding about the opinion of others, only mind about what God saying about you. Opinions simply remain to be opinions. Finally, allow your body language to project self-confidence and not timidity.
Just so you know, the birthday party was the best of its kind!