How to Be Assertive, Get What You Want, and Take Charge of Your Life

Do you find it difficult to speak up for yourself? Let your opinions be known? Master the art of gentle confrontation? How about putting your foot down with others when they cross your personal boundaries? If you don't take charge of your life assertively, you will find that you get your way a lot less. Other people will simply do things their way, and assume you want or agree with it.

A lifetime of being unassertive can lead you to believe that you’re just not worth it; that you don’t deserve to have your way; that other people are more important; and that letting them get their way will make you happy.

While all of this is rubbish, people can convince themselves of almost anything. Do not buy into this nonsense.

It is important to speak up assertively.

If you do not express your thoughts and feelings freely, how will people ever get to know you? In some cases, that is the fear: “If they get to know me, they’ll find out what a loser I really am.” This is never true.

In more than 20 years of providing therapy, I have never known a person who others did not like once they got to understand who he or she was… deep down. What people dislike most is a façade; the "pre-tense" and inappropriate, unpleasant emotional displays.

Unmask the genuine you, and you will naturally find the people who like the real you. Then, you both win.

This is especially true and important in this age (and ease) of the "digital façade:" Images and video, created and curated with cropping out, lighting apps, and "face tuning", then selectively presented - only the best snippets of life make the cut. This is not reality.

Attempt to assert yourself with others, a little at a time, until you have learned to express your thoughts and feelings appropriately and freely. By honestly (and respectfully) expressing yourself, you will become a stronger person. And other people like strong individuals. You will get more of what you want, and your unassertiveness and feeling sorry for yourself will be minimized.

"To be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way, is not easy."

- Aristotle

Taking risks is part of the wonder of life. You roll the dice and take what comes up. Every time you try something new, you take a risk. I have never met an elderly person who said, “I really wish I would have done less in life.”

People who fear their emotions and live their lives in a state of unconscious self-pity miss out on so much of life ­– and they will never even know to what degree. Get a handle on your emotions so you are in control, not random circumstances in life.

People traditionally say “take care” at the end of a letter or conversation. We like to say “take risks” because that is how we grow. It is impossible to grow if you do things the way you have always done them. Take one step at a time so long as you keep taking that next step. Keep moving forward. People who are risk-takers are not full of self-pity.

You can learn to feel better and get more of what you want out of life. Take charge. Do something new and adventurous today and live your life to the fullest!


3 Tips For Becoming More Assertive:

  • Practice speaking up for yourself and make requests. Stand your ground gently, yet firmly. Ask for what you want! You may or may not get it... but you definitely won't if you never ask.

  • Take risks! Be adventurous… a little at a time, and your confidence and assertiveness will develop.

  • Remember to positively encourage yourself (as you would to a dear friend) and go for the gusto in life!