Helping a girl to be assertive and build Self-Confidence.
Before now, I use to label myself a shy and quiet person, this perception held me captive at times. People expected me to be a certain way and so I was. And knowing that other people regarded me as shy, in addition to my not wanting to be shy, resulted in great anxiety when I was with people. I really wanted to show myself to others when I was around them, but it was easy to simply go along with what others expected from me. I usually find it so difficult to talk in groups even when I have something important to say. This was my major challenge yet in school. I can’t recall ever rising my hand up to answer or ask a question in class unless am call upon to do so. And when I make an attempt, am always right. The fear of giving a wrong answer and will be laughed at was the problem. I can vividly recall two occasion when the whole class was flogged because no one could answer the teacher’s question, I was sure I know the answer but was surprised that the brilliant ones did not rise their hands to answer the question so I concluded within myself that I could be wrong. I only whispered to my partner but she was like me and could not talk. After the flogging, the teacher told us the answer; my partner turned and looked at me.
Of all the Life Skills I have learnt, ‘’assertiveness’’ is the one I enjoy most and seem to be the most important to me. This is because it can be applied to daily interaction with others; it is a strong empowerment skill which helps young girls and some women to speak for themselves. Adolescence can be a challenging time for girls growing up. Her reactions to the physical and emotional changes occurring during puberty often depend on how she feels about herself. If she have a strong self-esteem, she is less likely to engage in socially unacceptable behaviors. Being assertive helps a girl to overcome shyness, to express herself and stand up for her rights. Being Assertive is a daily practice and everyone needs it in different areas of life. Everyday, i try as much as possible to practice being assertive by speaking for myself in gatherings.
Assertiveness is the ability to honestly express your opinions, feelings, attitudes, and rights, without undue anxiety, in a way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others.
One major area where assertiveness can be very helpful to a girl is in relationship and friendship with the opposite gender. A girl needs to be assertive when dealing with a boy. She needs to learn how to say ‘NO’ with her mouth and body so as to avoid getting infected with Sexually Transmitted Infection, HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy. Also assertiveness and self-confidence helps a girl to speak for her when her parent wants to give her away in early marriage.
Assertiveness is encompassed with a set of other skills for effective communication. For a girl to be truly assertive, she needs to see herself as being of worth and as having a right to enjoy life. At the same time, she should value others equally; respect their right to an opinion and to enjoy themselves. Assertiveness ensures that you are not hurt, used or violated the right of others.
Some of the tips of how to be assertive are:
Use the term “I”
Sometimes when you start using the “You” word too much, you are indirectly saying you agree with the other person(s) in the conversation, and shifting position, which you may not intend. So use the “I” word, since by describing your feelings and thoughts with words that have “I” in them – means it is in your words and your own message and not others, instead of perhaps blaming others or judging them. The “I” word helps you avoid judging, blaming or evaluating and this is important. For example saying “I am annoyed by...” sounds much better than “You annoyed me because...” – and eliminates being defensive by linking it to another person’s behaviour.
Have faith in your abilities
one thing i have learn to say is 'i can do it'. I say it and it's working for me. Have faith that your own abilities will ultimately work if you use them. Find out what your strengths are and use them to defend and support your position.
Create a Personal record
Keep with you some inspiration quotes, a list of your achievements, your basic rights as a human, personal goals and aspirations and the things you are grateful for. Read it and update it regularly.
One of the best methods of being confident and assertive is to know your subject matter. No matter what the situation is, the more you know, the more confident you'll be.
Speak with confidence even if you don't feel confident. Practice speaking this way. The more you practice the more it will become second nature.
Say “No” with confidence.
This is just so important. We are often under pressure to sometimes say yes, though we’d rather say no. Girls usually do this when they do not want to disappoint or lose their boyfriends. Also, they find it difficult to say ‘NO’ when they are forced to have sex. Most girls have their first sexual intercourse because they wanted to please their boyfriend. Saying “No” is not rude or even selfish. It’s just us treating our desires and needs as equally important.