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How to be More Assertive for Yourself

Updated on January 23, 2016

Not everyone is assertive. Not everyone is confident enough in themselves to stand up for what they want. This self-doubt often comes from how you were raised or some other past event. If you were raised with quiet parents and you were taught to put others first, there is a fair chance you carried that behavior into adulthood. On the other hand, if you were raised with outspoken parents who were up for a good debate, you probably are a little more daring yourself. Alternatively, if you had some traumatic experience that has caused you to become a more submissive person, you probably don't feel confident enough in yourself to demand things for yourself.

I'm not saying either way is a better way to be raised or to live. However, those who don't demand things for themselves can begin to feel like a rug being walked all over. Keep reading to learn how you can change this for yourself.

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First things first, start small. You need to work on building up your confidence by starting with small tasks. For example:

  • be the one to pick the restaurant you go to
  • ask for others to do little tasks for you
  • express an opposing opinion on a meaningless topic

After completing small tasks like these, you can work your way up to what you feel confident doing next. Maybe something like:

  • having a small debate with someone
  • choosing what color to paint the living room

At first, it may be difficult. It can be daunting to have someone disagree with you or to feel like you are in the way of what someone else wants. Just keep starting small and working your way up. It will get easier with practice, and soon you won't even feel like some assertion is difficult for you.

On that same note, stop putting others first. It's true that most people view selflessness as putting others first. Occasionally, it is okay to put others' needs first, but not always. If you are always putting someone's needs before your own, you will never be happy. You will live with the resentment that comes with never having your needs met.

Remember that your wants, needs, and happiness is just as important as that of anyone else. If you have a relationship of any kind (friend, family, significant other) where someone isn't willing to meet your needs as much as you're willing to meet theirs, then you need to get rid of that relationship. Don't let people take advantage of your slowly building confidence.

Finally, be sure of yourself. You can stand up for yourself. You can demand things for yourself. You can be first sometimes. If you have a problem with a situation, then say so. If you just want something for yourself, then say so. Don't be afraid of what others think. Most people aren't thinking what you think they're thinking. You probably think you're coming across as rude, demanding, or burdening, but you're not. Just be polite, and you'll be coming off as confident and knowing exactly what you want. Fun fact? That tends to be a pretty attractive characteristic in someone!

Becoming more assertive won't happen overnight. It takes time and practice, just like any new habit. Follow these tips, and soon enough you will find yourself in a much more confident and fulfilling situation. Remember that you have the strength to stand up for your needs and wants.


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