How To Express Your Feelings And Not Die Trying

December 18, 2015

Do you find it hard to express your opinions and feelings? Do you feel like you “could have said something,” long after the conversation is over? Have you noticed how hard it is to say “no” to someone?

girl covering mouth

In that case, dear reader, what you need is a little bit more “assertiveness.” Perhaps you’ve never heard this word; there’s a first time for everything!

Assertiveness allows you to communicate your feelings and beliefs, make sincere suggestions, and most of all, defend your rights.

For example, if a friend asks you to help him paint his house over the weekend, but you need to study for an exam, and you say yes anyway, you’re not using assertiveness. In this case, you would need to explain the situation and maybe offer to help, but don’t let him demand so much of your time: go Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Another example: you’re fighting with your partner over money (what’s new?) and instead of sharing your point of view, you fall silent. When the “conversation” – which is actually a monologue – is over, you’ll start another activity. Moments later, your brain reacts and realizes…there was so much you could have said!

Well, that too is lack of assertiveness. Ideally, instead of staying quiet, you would have the opportunity to say that the financial problem resides in overspending and not low income, that you both need to use “war economy,” etc.

Now, how can you develop your assertiveness without getting into fights, having problems with friends or loved ones? This may be what’s keeping you back: the fear of confrontation.

girl with megaphone

Assertiveness also means communicating your feelings without letting yourself be taken over by emotions. In the case of the couple fighting about money, the example would be to avoid crying while explaining your point of view, not yelling, or getting angry.

You also can’t expect that being more assertive will make all your problems come to an end, because others will probably take their place. However, you’ll be at peace with your conscience knowing that you’ve at least said what you thought or felt.

The best part is that you can practice your assertiveness in any environment, and it can help you to improve while communicating or expressing yourself, defending your rights, saying what you feel and what your opinion is on a subject. Being assertive definitely gives you more peace and freedom. Is that not we all strive for?

girls talking

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” 

— Mahatma Gandhi

How to be More Assertive

It’s time to put all hands on deck (or all words in mouth) to develop the blessed assertiveness we’ve been discussing. Obviously, practice is easier than theory (in most cases.)

  • Erase guilt: negative thoughts, or lack of communication can be based on feeling guilty. “I’m such a bad friend, how can I not help John paint his house?” Change that out for a more positive one: “I deserve the weekend to myself to study and rest.”
  • Remember that no one reads minds: well maybe some people, yes, but not generally. Other people don’t have a crystal ball to look into to see what you’re going through. The only way they can find out is… If you tell them!
  • Defend your truths: not everything you say will be the absolute truth (which doesn’t even exist to many), but you’ll be protecting what you believe in… And that’s worth a whole lot.
  • Be firm: don’t go out on limbs; say the right thing at the right time.

Don’t forget that assertiveness has an effect on your self-esteem too, because you’ll be respecting yourself. You’ll also achieve the same from others.