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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.

Become informed
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 up
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.

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Comments

Dear Vivian,
Thank you for sharing this with us. I believe that being assertive and confident puts us on urge. I love how you have outline how one can be assertive and confident. You have educated us on how to help our girls to be assertive and confident as Girl Mentors-Having faith, keeping records, being informed,speaking up etc wow great ingredients!
Thank you for sharing!

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

vivian's picture

the task

Am doing some of the things am doing today because I have learnt to be assertive and believe me it is something no one has completely. We cultivate it by practice. I keep it in mind always and so desire to practice what I know.

There are more tips of which having a mentor is one of them which you are already doing. It good to pair girls with those who can really help them achieve their dreams. Well done in what you are doing and more grease to your elbow including your team members.

My regards

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

vivian's picture

it

Am doing some of the things am doing today because I have learnt to be assertive and believe me it is something no one has completely. We cultivate it by practice. I keep it in mind always and so desire to practice what I know.

There are more tips of which having a mentor is one of them which you are already doing. It good to pair girls with those who can really help them achieve their dreams. Well done in what you are doing and more grease to your elbow including your team members.

My regards

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

warona's picture

ASSERTIVENESS!

Hi Vivian

Morning dear,hope you are fine.You know this word was echoed into our ears everyday at school more especially during the assembly,or during prayer time in the mornings.Exactly what you express here was me in those days while i was still young.I grew up from the dusty village + going to the cattle post.I remember in class i was so shy even if i knew the answer i will just die inside failing to say the answer.Just to speak out was a big problem for me.
You know i used to fear, what i dont know.So i developed each year as i was moving from standard to another.

For you to be assertive and confident,the most important thing is to first BELIEVE that you can do it,do self introspection, then your faith will be established.I remember at school we were told to have role models.To be like Nelson Mandela, and many other powerful people.And we were thriving by all means to be what we were told to be.At my house i stay with about three orphans,raising these kind of children is so difficult.I tell you i councel almost every time, i teach each day.They are rebellious,so repelling,so hard to understand,looking at the fact that they are reaching stage and peer pressure is so much.They want to do what they want.Howver i tend to be a little bit hard on them to archieve my mission on them.REMEMBER they need love above, yet they behave like that.

I teach them everything even alerting about the sexually transmitted diseases that have already diluted our town,i tell them to stay away from such thing and be good boys and girl and enjoy their school,so that they will be our next presidents,nurses or teacher or any career they so wish to take.I emphasis education as it is the key.
I want to tell,with raising children or girl it will never be smooth.I sometimes pray to God to help me with these children,and its by his grace that we are where we are today beacuse of God.

I called upon the council people,To come and help me with these boys.So there is a place for them to keep them busy so that they dont embark on drinking beer,they play marimba and other activites.

So To be assertive means to declare, claim or insist. You can assert your opinion, which is to give it in a decided, positive way, or assert your right to something (ie, insist on it.) So if you are an assertive person, this adjective means that you tend to be quite decided and insistent in your behavior.So an individual needs to prioritise things.Your no should be no and your yes be yes.

Anyway thank you for sharing all these,its so powefull.

Yours

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

vivian's picture

great contribution

Good morning warona,

I love you contribution and how you are educating the orphans with you. Adolescents are faced with not only physical changes but also emotional and life style change. At this stage, they are always rebellious like you have rightly observed. The want to be on their own and take their own decision. They want to change their own life style. When we notice these change, we need to be patience with them, give them a listening ear and guide them to take the right decisions. Sometime, we could generate some discussion so as to know their own opinion with the aim of correcting or educate them on that issue.

You are doing well and it good you have a good knowledge of assertiveness. We need it daily and like you said, we have to believe first and then the action. There is this advert of peak milk on Nigeria TV, the little boy said," if I can dream it, then I can make it". These words keep me going.

Thanks for taking time to read my post and for very wonderful contribution. Let us continue to guide young girls and boys.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

lolatsai's picture

Powerful

Dear Vivian,

This article was so powerful and so well written! Thank you so much for sharing this personal story and wisdom with all of us.

With love :)

Lola

Love & blessings,
Lola

www.oneglowinglife.com

vivian's picture

Thank you Lola for taking

Thank you Lola for taking time to read my post. I just visited your blog, it is so nice. Well done in your girl empowerment program

cheers

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

giftypearl.abenaab's picture

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Vivian!

Gifty Pearl Abenaab
Founder
Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.org

erikan's picture

Right on!

What a great contribution!

Being assertive and having confidence is immensely important. I think I am starting to reach this is through self discovery, self respect, and self honesty. Sometimes we go through low times where we don't feel confident, but they may end up being a blessing in disguise. The last few months for me have been very hard personally. I've been questioning myself and my path. It was a very painful process of assessing my wants and needs, establishing goals, and being honest with myself. I learned a lot about myself. I'm still learning, but I've become more confident and secure with myself. I had to decide whether I was going to allow my insecurities to take over me. I decided to use what I learned to empower myself. Our mind can be a tricky thing, and although our minds are great, we cannot allow it to become our downfall. Like you said said, have faith in yourself.

Practicing self empowerment and assertiveness, like you said, will carry out in our interactions with other people, how we acknowledge others, and how we acknowledge ourselves. As cliche as this may sound, it really helps to look in the mirror and repeat what you feel you need to hear. And it wouldn't hurt if you smiled at yourself. Realize you have worth and you have just as much right to be as everyone else. We are equal but individually powerful. I tell myself this! I tell myself, "Erika, just because you're not doing exactly what you want to doesn't mean you're a failure. You're not a failure. You are wonderful and you have lots of time."

I really liked the point you made about how we have to honestly express our opinions, feelings, attitudes, and rights without infringing on the rights of others to do the same. The last points gets lost sometimes. We forget that just because we are confident with our selves doesn't mean we have the right to shut people down. They're opinion matters just as much as mine. I may think I am right, but they also think they are right. We do not want to oppress others, that is not the goal. I think that if I was more secure with myself I wouldn't argue as much because if I am secure with myself and my opinions and feelings, then I would realize that there is enough space for other people's opinions and feelings.

I love your suggestion to keep a personal record. It's important to be able to look back at the things you've done and feel proud. It's also important to keep in mind the people, quotes, actions that inspire us.

A lesson I've had to learn recently is to speak up even when you feel you may not have the right answer. My contribution has value. It's okay to not no the answer, but if you have something to say, speak up...it may lead you in a direction that you did not intend but is equally important.

Thank you Vivian for your contribution! It was really wonderful to read. I started off my day reading this and I will keep you in mind throughout the day. Thank you again :)

Erika

vivian's picture

Am glad to hear that you have

Am glad to hear that you have learnt a lot about yourself. That is the beginning of success. I read a book, the title is "know your limit then ignore it". Sound irony but so interesting, it means what you think is your limit should not limit you from what you want to achieve rather overlook it and keep moving.

Am also glad that you have learnt to speak even if it is wrong. I started like that. When I attend trainings, I tell myself, vivian you must speak by answering a question or give one contribution before the training ends. If even my voice is shaking I force out the words. Sometimes, I have to note my words down before speaking, that I have notice some people do and they read from the notebook. So, I started. Am not there yet as I want to be but am better than before. Now, I know that even if my point is laughed at, I can still speak again. It fun to be assertive.

Thank you for visiting my post.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

Deqa's picture

Amazing Post

Dear Vivian,
Such a great contribution, and seems like a replica of my teenage life. I thought I was reading my own diary. I too was also very shy in school although I was a high achiever and never came down from top 3, yet it was very hard for me to speak an answer and I much preferred to write it down on a peace of paper, but my experience in learning higher education in Malaysia gave me a voice and now I am a 26yrs old very assertive lady and never cease to speak my mind, and consequently I decided to share my knowledge and became a lecturer at a university speaking in front of many people.

I love the outline at the end whereby you gave guidelines on how to overcome unnecessary shyness, low self esteem, and become assertive, thank you for sharing and I am sure you have a bright future as a mentor and a coach.

Deqa

vivian's picture

I glad that you find this

I glad that you find this piece interesting and to hear that you are a lecturer. This is one huge strategy that help girls overcome shyness. I actually did the same after I left high school, during my national youth service. I requested to teach in secondary school and I was actually posted to a girl only school where I spent one year with them and it was fun for me. It really went a long way to bring me out of silent

Great to have you on board.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

Sahro's picture

Girl power! Well done.

Girl power!
Well done.

WorldPulse Community Advisory Board Member
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