Speak Up, Stand Tall: 5 Best Tips for Assertive Communication

Do you know how to speak up and advocate for yourself?

For a lot of people, speaking up for a friend is not something that we find hard to do. How many times have you found yourself being there to advocate for your family and friends, but when it came to yourself, you seemed to brush things off?

When the tables turn, it seems hard for even those of us who are used to being the ones to speak up in certain situations to be able to speak up about our needs and desires.

The catch here is that all of us have this inside of us—the strength to speak up and advocate for ourselves—but we need to nurture it.

There are too many stories out there about the ways in which we all fail to speak up for ourselves when we dismiss our worries, pain, and needs, or when we forget to put ourselves first.

This can lead us down a downward spiral where you end up degrading your self-worth, which can land you in even more hot waters.

No matter how much self-worth you have, self-advocacy and standing up for yourself can still be important.

This is why we have gathered the best advice given by specialists and personal development experts so that you can turn from being everyone else’s advocate to also being your own!

Start being the one who speaks up for yourself and become your own hero with these important tips!

When was the last time you advocated for yourself? Have you ever needed to do this and felt like you shouldn’t? Tell us your stories in the comments below!

speak up
Image By Ariya J From Shutterstock

Tip 1: Find and accept your self-worth.

This tip may sound like it has nothing to do with learning to speak up for yourself, but in reality, it is the foundation for everything about self-advocacy.

If you do not nurture and accept your self-worth, you are inclined to brush off your needs and wants.

What’s more, if you have low self-worth, you will believe that you are not as important as others and that you are not valid, when that is entirely not true.

You may not think that you have problems with your self-worth.

Yet, if you find yourself not putting much effort into what you want to do or just letting others choose everything, even if you do not like it, to not “bother” with your opinion, you need to take a moment for introspection.

Think about it like this: if you would stand up for a friend if they were downgrading their wants and needs in order to always appease someone else, then you need to also do the same for yourself.

Connect with yourself, find parts of yourself that you have put away, and learn to love yourself.

Then apply the method of treating yourself as you treat others, and you will soon find yourself coming more into yourself, and speaking up for yourself will be easier.

Tip 2: Know and enforce your boundaries.

Part of being able to speak up for yourself is learning how to work with boundaries. This means that you should find out what your boundaries are and then learn to enforce them so that you do not end up being taken advantage of, being put in uncomfortable situations, or even suffering mentally from not respecting them.

Boundaries are all about knowing your limits; think of them as a line that delimits two areas. One of the areas is the containment one, where you are and no one can get to you, and the protection one, where everyone else is.

The boundary line is made out of things you cannot accept, be it that they go against your morals, they make you uncomfortable, or you just do not like them. However, keep in mind that once you realize what your boundaries are, you should also make sure to enforce them, speak up for yourself, and not let others trample over them.

Also, make sure you understand what boundaries are so that you do not fall into a trap like many have. Boundaries are not threats, ultimatums, or complaints. And if anyone has ever told you they have a boundary that sounds like this but is also mean, cruel, rude, manipulative, or specifically targeted at you, know that those are not boundaries.

If you want to learn more about boundaries, how to reclaim yourself, and how to speak up when it comes to them, we recommend this book you can easily get from Amazon. It is a great read, and it has helped a lot of us to understand and use healthy boundaries!

speak up
Image By Constantin Stanciu From Shutterstock

Tip 3: Do not be afraid to say no.

Another part of being able to speak up for yourself includes knowing when and how to say “no” to others. And while a lot of us are worried that we may be rude or offend someone when we decline to do, attend, or help with something, or that we may be called rude, know that this is on the other person to manage their reaction and feelings, not on you.

A good way to know when to say no so that you do not take up too many engagements and then feel bored and overworked is to think about whether you can afford to say “yes,”  much like you would when you have to make a big financial decision.

However, instead of thinking about money, think about how much it would cost you in terms of health, time, energy, and, yes, money. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have the emotional energy to engage in the activity or commitment?
  • Does your health permit you to do so without compromising it?
  • Do you have the time to take on something else or commit to something else?
  • Is it going to be a financial burden to do it?

If the answer is not yes to all of these, then you most probably cannot afford it. Yet, besides all of these questions, you should also answer the most important one: Do you want to do this thing?

If the answer is “no,”  then go ahead and say no. It does not have to be a categorical and mean answer; you can just say “No, thank you.” or go down the easy answers of “Sorry, that doesn’t work for me/my schedule” or “That is not a priority for me right now” if you are worried about the response.

Despite this, just saying no is a full sentence, and you should not be afraid of using it.

Tip 4: Put your wants and needs first.

A lot of us end up falling into the habit of defaulting to what others want without putting what we want into balance too. A lot of us do not want to cause any problems to others, so we default to what others want, default to their likes and wants, and not think about ours.

To learn to stand up for yourself, speak up, and know your worth, you should stop doing this and put yourself first.

Instead of always listening to what others want and reacting to that, think about what you want to do and then communicate that too, even if it is different. Sure, it may not be comfortable at first, and you may even feel awkward, but it is part of learning to defend yourself, your wants, and your needs.

This does not mean that you should never yield and discuss what you should do with others, but things should be done in a way that benefits everyone, not just one party, with you just giving in to what others want.

speak up
Image By afotostock From Shutterstock

Tip 5: Do not aim to always people please.

One last tip is to ask yourself if you are a people-pleaser. You may not think you are, but if you have been guilty of doing what we have discussed in Tip 4, defaulting to others, you need to think hard about this too.

It is easy to not speak up for yourself and just fall into the trap of people pleasing you because you are rewarded for it. In the end, pleasing others does just that; it pleases others, so you will feel good when someone is thankful for certain things.

Yet, a lot of the time, you get into this habit, and it becomes a compulsion that will eat away at your self-worth and put you in difficult situations.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where people just assume you will be doing the thing—hosting the party, organizing the trip, or even cleaning up after a get-together? No one asked you; they assumed that you would do it.

That is because you have been doing it to please others for so long that they default to that, meaning that you end up spending too much energy and time on others by default. Indeed, you may value being agreeable and nice, but it should never come at your expense.

Start by being courageous and accepting that not everyone will like you. Stand up for yourself and trust yourself to take that risk. Say no when you want to; do not just say no to things because it will keep the peace but make you sad.

It will be hard at first, but you’ve got this!

For more tips and tricks on how you can speak up for yourself even when it is hard to do so, we recommend that you read this book: The Worthy Mind.

Knowing how to stand up and speak for yourself is really important, but you should also make sure you know the signs that someone is trying to trick you. Be it that they want money or something else from you, there are signs to look for when someone gives you a bad vibe! Make sure you read all about the most common signs someone has bad intentions for you!




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