How to stop worrying about being labeled a bitch when asserting yourself.
I recently was in a situation where I felt someone was deliberately taking advantage of me. I see this person several times a week and I really didn’t feel like having an uncomfortable conversation. But, it needed to happen.
I spent some time lamenting to my husband, and explaining that there have been many instances where I have been in a situation where I have to assert myself, speak up for what I think, feel or believe and I get labeled as being bitchy, sensitive, emotional, overreacting or just plain crazy.
Being assertive for yourself can be tough. This is something I work on all the time. I never really was one to speak up for myself. When I was younger, I was shy, had low self-esteem and didn’t want to make anyone upset. I got stuck doing things I didn’t want to do, agreeing just to be nice. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I started to make changes to how I carried myself.
I had a conversation with a few friends on this topic and one made a comment that stood out. She agreed that yes, often times when a woman asserts herself she is labeled as bitchy and one way to deal with it is to change how you deliver your message. I agreed at the moment but, the more I thought about it I was like “No! EFF that, why do I have to change the way I say what I need to say?” I’m not entering a conversation being rude, screaming, and raging, like a mad woman. I’m simply saying what I feel needs to be said.
Okkkkkkk, full disclosure, I have in my lifetime entered a couple conversations like a complete maniac acting nutty, screaming like a mad woman. Mostly with my husband, but most often I try not to.
When you are afraid of being labeled a bitch, or aggressive you change the way you speak, you hold yourself differently. I have been there! I have noticed it in some of my interactions. My voice changes, I will find myself apologizing for my feelings, acting like I am being an inconvenience for bringing whatever is bothering me up. Heck, just the other day I was at Target and some guy accidentally bumped me with his cart. And guess what??? I apologized!!! Say whhaaaaaa? Yep, it was so automatic. I cringed immediately thinking, Why the heck did I apologize? But it happens. I have friends who do it, I have done it. I’ve seen strangers do it.
Nope. No way. No more.
Want more for yourself, expect more for yourself, stand up tall and speak your mind unabashedly. If you don’t then people will start treating you with less respect or take advantage of you. Here are some tips that I have used and still am working on when confronted with situations where I need to be assertive. And as far as being called a bitch…who cares. If because you are a confident woman who speaks your mind, stands up for yourself and gets stuff done. Then whatever, let anyone who has a problem with that say what they want!
Start small, set boundaries and keep them.
If you are someone who is usually a people pleaser. Start small. Remember that your feelings are justifiable. You can feel however you want. If they don’t agree that’s fine. Know what your boundaries are when dealing with people and keep them. You might upset someone, let them down or sheesh, rock the boat. But, when you are worried more about pleasing people more than taking care of your needs. You will find yourself unhappy, and resentful.
Stop apologizing. I know, easy peasy right? Well, how often do you find yourself apologizing for how you feel. It seems almost automatic in so many situations when we’ve done nothing wrong. In an effort to make awkward situations less awkward, It’s easy to start off with an “I’m sorry…” It is almost like a verbal tic, similar to those filler words “um” and “like” we use when speaking. When it comes to asserting yourself, you don’t need to worry about being liked or agreeable you need to be direct and honest.
Automatic apologizing, it’s a hard habit to break. I’m working on it now. My suggestion is to become aware of when you use that word and find a replacement. In my target example above, I could have said “oops” instead. And when it comes to speaking your mind, don’t ever apologize. Prepare what you are going to say ahead of time and go in with a mental script if you have to.