How to make others listen to you when you tend to keep all opinions to yourself? You don’t like rocking the boat and constantly worrying about making someone mad at you. This creates a huge inner struggle that causes much-added anxiety, stress, and other mental and physical issues.
Like many people who want to keep the peace, you may find it hard to speak up because you associate it with being mean, selfish, disruptive, or uncooperative.
This simply isn’t true.
Here are 4 simple, but effective ways to find your voice without being rude or hurtful.
Timing is Everything
Finding the right moment to voice your concerns is key when trying to find a solution that works for all everyone involved. While you don’t want to wait too long to discuss something that’s on your mind, if you suddenly hit someone with a barrage of complaints out of the blue, it will not end well.
Before you go and put someone on the spot, consider when they would be more apt to listen and engage in a healthy chat.
For example, instead of confronting your spouse about an issue you have, arrange a time that works best for both of you where you have nothing going on afterward. In other words, don’t bring the subject up just before you are all going out for a social event, or just before you all go to bed.
Handling the situation in this way will serve both of you in the best way possible. It’s much easier for the issue to be heard and resolved when the other person doesn’t feel blindsided by your statements. So make the timing the best you can.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Without saying a word, your body language will convey a clear message to others upon meeting. It’s important to pay attention to what message you are sending. Do you stand up straight or slouch? Do you make direct eye contact with someone when talking or have problems meeting their gaze? Do you have your arms crossed in front of you, seemingly closed off to the other person, or are your hands down at your sides and are you leaning in, showing that you are open and receptive to the conversation? Not only will your body language affect how others see you, but it will also impact how you feel about yourself.
If you need a boost of confidence, try practicing some power poses at home – quit slouching, stand up straight, and make eye contact with yourself in the mirror. Pretend you have a huge rubber band holding your upper arms behind you. With your chin up and your chest out, you automatically will stand up straight. With a little practice, simple moves like this can help you feel more confident about yourself and also appear more assertive when engaging with others.
I’ve lost count of how many times a patient has crossed their arms, folded up, and resisted my instructions. I would stop talking and ask them a question, “This doesn’t sound like something you can do, what would work better for you?”
Pick Your Battles
Part of standing up for yourself also means knowing when to avoid those battles that don’t really matter. There will be many times in life when you don’t need to waste your time, energy, or words on unnecessary confrontation. Those are the moments when you really need to evaluate the situation and weigh the pros and cons.
What is the root of the problem?
Is it really something that needs to be discussed? Will a solution cause a major difference in your life (or anyone else’s)? Don’t dive headfirst into every issue you come upon – be selective and only speak up on the problems that truly matter. While there will some situations that require you to intervene and speak up, there will be just as many that you need to let roll off your shoulders. As you become more comfortable being assertive, it will get much easier to notice the difference between the two.
The first step to demanding respect from others is to know without a doubt that you deserve it. Often times, you come from a place of low self-esteem so this can be a difficult concept to entertain right at first. However, it’s so important to know that you deserve the same amount of respect that you’ve been giving to others and it’s time that you start demanding it. You have the exact same rights as everyone else – you are just as smart and talented and deserving of love and respect as everyone else.
You have the right to your opinions.
You have the right to make your voice heard. You have the right to fail and mess up and be human. However, no one has the right to be rude and treat you badly or take advantage of your kindness. Not one single human. Demanding respect doesn’t take away the fact that you still respect others. It simply means you’re valuing and protecting yourself. Understanding this is the first step to speaking up and speaking out against anyone who tries to throw disrespect your way.
It takes at least 3 times
If you’ve been a lifelong people pleaser, speaking your mind may sound like one of the most intimidating things in the world. We often hold back out of fear and insecurity – after all, no one wants to look foolish or worse, make someone else mad. Avoiding confrontation seems like a much easier route, however, you are doing yourself and the world a huge disservice by not allowing your voice to be heard.
The great thing is, you can start asserting yourself in a way that is respectful and kind to others, yet still give your ideas, opinions, and beliefs wings to fly. When you have done this consistently for at least three times, you will see how easy it finally gets. Keep at it.
For more ways to practice setting boundaries, see my new book, 10 Ways of Setting Boundaries Without Hurting Others. Click here for your free book.