Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you stifle your input to avoid coming across as aggressive or rude? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. The social conditioning of women to withhold their opinions and not “offend” or “anger” others dates back hundreds of years. For a woman, this unfortunately can manifest itself in a day-to-day negative feeling of being unable to speak your mind or stand up for yourself with confidence.
If you’ve been contemplating this inner struggle personally, we have good news. It’s 2020, and there are boundless opportunities for you to address these feelings in a meaningful and deeply personal way. You can join the growing group of women who are working to shift their mindsets and gain the self-assurance and assertiveness needed to confidently voice their opinions and set boundaries.
How can I be assertive in a respectful and polite manner?
As we mentioned before, extensive research suggests that women – across income and ethnic categories – feel an obligation to always be polite. With mindfulness and spiritual practices, you can work to distance yourself from such external obligations and begin to peel back any detrimental emotions that are contributing to insecurity. Once you feel better in touch with your most authentic self, you can channel the desire to be polite into effective and assertive communication. A big part of this journey will be acknowledging and detaching yourself from any unhealthy feelings or assumptions you have tied to the word “assertiveness”. The bottom line is that regardless of your social environment or personal situation, it is entirely possible as a woman to embrace assertiveness, voice opinions, and set healthy boundaries. All while still maintaining a respectful or polite demeanor.
3 effective ways to become respectfully assertive:
1. Build self-awareness and confidence: First and foremost, you can focus on working on owning who you are as an individual. This is much easier said than done, and we know that it can feel difficult to break out of a cycle of apologizing to others for who you are. This is why we recommend taking a holistic and ongoing approach to your self-awareness practice. In this article, we outline a few effective options for you to get started with. Keep in mind that the list is not exhaustive, and that you should feel very comfortable utilizing and trying out as many methods as you need. It is a wonderful plan to combine different spiritual tools into an overarching approach as you work on building self-awareness and confidence
2. Practice mindfulness in every conversation: Another effective way to achieve polite assertiveness is by being more actively present in every conversation. This includes paying attention to the other person’s facial features, expressions, language and body language as they speak. This may feel unnatural or even strange to you at first, but try to stick with it. You will find that by being more mindful of the other person in the conversation, it will feel a lot easier to adjust your own tone, body language, or wording in a manner that feels respectful and polite when it comes time to clearly assert your opinions.
3. Set healthy boundaries grounded in your core values: This method for improving your communication abilities is tied very close to our first two recommendations: to build self-awareness and confidence and practice mindfulness daily. Throughout your process of self-reflection, you should work on identifying those values in life that are core to your individual being. These values may be all-encompassing, or they may be specific to certain areas of your life. Work to ingrain this set of core values and sense of personal purpose in your mind and daily activities, and go back to them when you are questioning whether or not you need to set some boundaries in a relationship. Ask yourself, “Do I feel like these boundaries are in line with my values?”. If you answer yes, then you should feel more confident expressing them to a friend, acquaintance or family member.
2 practices to help you to be respectfully assertive:
As we outlined above, the number one way you can achieve personal growth in this area is by building your own level of self-awareness and getting closer in touch with your core values and purpose as a human being. A deep level of self-awareness and confidence closely correlates with effective and respectful communication abilities. There are many spiritual avenues for you to explore that could help facilitate this growth. Two of the most effective practices you could get started with are yoga and the use of essential oils:
1. Yoga: The yoga practice offers boundless opportunities to self-reflect on areas of difficulty or stress in your life. This certainly includes any difficult thoughts you are having surrounding the balance of self-assertiveness and politeness. The specific yoga practice of Svadhyaya – or self-reflection – involves breaking down external pressures or expectations and diving more heavily into the nature of our own essential being and purpose. Svadhyaya is one part of a wider practice of Kriya yoga. Integrating this practice into your routine can help enable a much deeper level of self-understanding and reflection as you work to identify your communication fears and goals holistically.
2. Essential Oils: Essential oils are a lesser known – but equally effective – tool for facilitating your personal growth towards employing effective and fulfilling communication tactics. Just search “essential oil and well-being” online, and you will be met with an overwhelming amount of scientific research outlining the positive psycho-physiological effects. Beyond these effects, however, essential oils can be used to help you reach a spiritual state involving open-mindedness and intense inspiration. If you want more inner harmony and awareness – key contributors to kind yet assertive communication abilities – then working with essential oils could be a great option. The Haven Shoppe creates emotional support blends to help you in this area. For support with assertiveness and confidence, try Power Pose. This lemony, fresh blend boosts your personal power and will help you find your courage. If you need help with calm, clear communication, Speak Your Truth is the perfect blend for you. Both are organic and vegan.
As you embark on your journey to practice more intentional assertiveness, remember that it is okay for you to take your time. The more patient, forgiving, and open-minded you are as you explore your options and try out different tools, the more effective you will be at achieving long-term and sustainable growth in this important area.