In most conversations there is room for negotiation and multiple opinions. Entering discussions with an open mind is typically considered a positive trait, but there are times when you need to stand your ground. It’s easy to be pushed around, even when you know you’re right. Here are some ways to stand in your power.
There is an art to listening. It requires patience, attentiveness and an open mind. Before defending your position, ensure you completely understand what the other person is saying. Attentive listening can be challenging, especially if you are engaged in an emotional conversation. But when you listen carefully, you may find that what’s being argued upon is a simple miscommunication. However, if it is not an issue of miscommunication, careful listening will allow you to address the problem you take issue with. People will be more willing to listen and respect you if you do the same for them.
2. Be Specific and Clear
If you are being ignored or belittled, change your wording. Be specific and clear. You cannot assert your thoughts or emotions if the other person doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say. If you’re not sure of the point you are trying to make, wait to speak. Take time to think about your point. Once you’ve established your message, communicate it in its simplest form. Stay on topic and say exactly what you mean.
3. Value Your Words
In many ways, we’re taught to dismiss our words and ideas. Take ownership of your thoughts and opinions. When asserting yourself, speak with confidence and extract phrases like, “I don’t know.” Make eye contact and speak with certainty.
4. Broken Record
Part of being assertive is not only defending yourself, but confronting others when a problem needs to be resolved. In a working environment, some people will ignore your instructions, hoping you will give up. Stay firm. Calmly but firmly repeat a short, clear statement until the other person responds accordingly. Ensure the person you are communicating with understands what you’re communicating.
For example, “No, I don’t want to go out tonight. I want to study.” Repeat this simple phrase until it’s accepted by the other party. Another tactic is to state your position – repeat – and then, disengage.
And Don’t Forget …
To effectively care for our emotional and mental health, we must set personal boundaries. Boundaries are not meant to punish the people we engage with — rather, they’re a part of self-love and self-care. Strong boundaries curb suggestibility. They allow us to for ourselves and act in our best interest.
Boundaries are empowering. When someone crosses your boundaries it needs to be addressed. Whether in your personal or professional life, know when and where to draw a line. You deserve to feel safe at work and comfortable at home.
Having a conversation with multiple, diverse perspectives is great, but being walked over is not. Our mental and emotional boundaries are not up for negotiation. Stand your ground and claim your space.
What mental and emotional boundaries are important to you? How do you stand your ground? —Alex