Last week we examined each right and saw how significant they all were in maintaining our sense of worth and self-esteem. This week we will look at how to begin asserting these rights to others, encouraging them to treat us with the consideration and respect we all deserve.
Each and every right serves to emphasise our self-worth as dignified, competent and equal human beings. When any of our fundamental rights are violated it silently communicates that either we are incapable or of less worth than others – neither of which are true. Thankfully it is within our control to refuse others violating our rights.
The first step to protecting our rights is to memorise them so we can quickly recognise when they have been violated. The second step is to calmly deal with those who have violated our rights in an assertive way. In being assertive, we create the right in question as a personal boundary and vocalise this to others.
To effectively assert yourself follow these four simple steps:
- Acknowledge what the person has said. E.g. ‘I understand that is your opinion’
- State the facts. E.g. ‘I have the right to my own opinion, it is just different than yours’
- State the impact. E.g. ‘I am offended and angry by your comment that my opinion is wrong’
- State what you want. E.g. ‘If we share different opinions in future I would appreciate it if you would refrain from stating my opinion as wrong’
For a more in-depth exploration of assertiveness techniques please read next months series ‘Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking’.
Once we are aware of our rights and can assert them effectively we are delivering a powerful message. A message that we deserve to be listened to and taken seriously. By being assertive we communicate to others that we not only respect ourselves, but that we also expect others to treat us with that same level of respect.
Looking back I feel truly lucky to have come into contact with Anne Dickson’s work. It is no exaggeration to say that the first time I read my rights I had one of the most validating and liberating experiences of my life. Join me and let’s escape from our cells where our rights are violated, using assertiveness as our key. After a lifetime of confinement, freedom and liberty now await us.
What has been your experience of people violating your rights? Have you ever used assertiveness without realising it? Do you think using assertiveness in your life would improve the quality of your relationships? Maybe you have some tips yourself you could share with our readers? Please comment and share your experiences with our community to gain encouragement and support from one another.
- Choose one of Annes rights which you have experienced being violated on a regular basis. Write down how you would state the facts, state the impact and state what you want as described above.
- Role play with someone close to you how you will assert this boundary.
- Memorise your assertive response so that you can more easily assert yourself the next time this right is violated. Remember to have a calm steady tone of voice whilst asserting yourself.
‘A Woman In Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You’ by Anne Dickson, available on Amazon