When getting heard is difficult and you want to make a change, it becomes important to give voice to the part of yourself that has been silenced or quieted. It can be difficult to find your assertive voice. It usually takes some practice for that voice to become authentically yours. While you definitely may want to understand why it became quieted, there are some behavioral steps that you can take to practice that assertive voice in low stakes ways.
In being assertive, you need to be able to share your experience, feelings, thoughts and make an effort to retain the relationship at the same time. Sometimes, when trying this, it can be really difficult to balance these two sides and like most things it takes practice.
Here are some first step ideas:
- Ask a salesperson for help and then communicate your feelings about their choices (i.e., whether you like them or not)
- Send back something that you don’t like or is prepared incorrectly at a restaurant
- Disagree with a phone salesperson
Find practice situations that are fairly safe and then after you have started to feel some confidence in your assertive voice, try it out with people that are closer to you. Do the same thing, start with friends and family that will be more supportive and/or comfortable with your change and then work your way slowly to the tougher people when you are feeling more confident.