There's nothing wrong with being seen as a 'nice' person, but as soon as you're viewed as a bit of a pushover then that's when things have to change. Are you someone who rushes into work on the weekend when your boss calls you to arrange a filing cabinet? Or the one who never drinks while out with your pals as you're the designated driver? Stop; stand up for yourself!
'Challenge yourself more often to put yourself out there and stand up for yourself'
"There is nothing wrong with being nice! We just have to get more, well, strategic about it," psychotherapist and life coach Jan Graham, author of Live a Little Coaching, told shape.com.
A lot of it comes down to body language; it may sound silly but standing up straight and looking confident can make the world of difference to how you're perceived. Crossing your arms is automatically linked to protecting yourself, making you immediately seem vulnerable. Instead, keep your body loose and raise your shoulders if presented with an opportunity to show authority.
Another great way to feel more confident in yourself when it comes to saying 'no' is making eye contact; this suggests you are determined with what you say and won't let anyone question your decision.
To avoid nerves when faced with a situation where you know you have to stand up for what you want, why not have a practice?
"Challenge yourself more often to put yourself out there and stand up for yourself, but to do it strategically - not in a way that's going to overwhelm you," Jan suggests.
For example, if it's your boss who's the one who has over-the-top demands (which you always tend to, even when dealing with issues of your own), start with tackling smaller work problems, such as telling your co-worker to stop eating your food in the fridge. Or if you're physically unable to carry out a task set to you, address the problem by telling whoever gave you it what you can do in the time allocated, not what you're struggling with.
Be nicer to yourself too. Being someone who drops everything for another person means you're caring and reliable, but you can show these traits in other ways. Don't be afraid of speaking your mind as it may gain you more respect from your peers and employers than you realise.
Saying 'no' is the biggest problem when it comes to being a pushover - but what if by saying yes you're letting the other person down? You have to know, and let others know, when you're out of your depth, as it's not bad to put your own needs first every now and then. Perhaps start with a 'maybe' if you can't face going straight into turning things down.
Lastly, surrounding yourself with likeminded people can really enhance your outlook; nothing wrong with taking some tips from others!
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