Although being assertive is beneficial, many – including me at times – shy away from it out of fear. Fear of conflict, fear of failure, fear of humiliation or even fear of further put downs. One of my favorite books is called ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’ so when possible I try to push through my fears because I know what I resist, persists.
Trust me, if I can do this, you can too. Just take a look at what you stand to gain below. It’s worth it, I promise.
The benefits of being assertive
Assertiveness is all about creating healthy boundaries for how you wish to be treated and should not be confused with aggression which violates others disrespectfully. When we assert ourselves we shift from a victim mentality to an empowered one. We reap the rewards of increased self-esteem when we communicate to others we deserve to be treated with respect because we communicate our inherent worth.
Whilst dealing with put-downs is quite a specific area of assertiveness, if you feel you would like to be more assertive in your day to day life, I would suggest reading my other assertiveness articles as featured below:
A thorough look at the intrinsic rights we are all born with and how to protect them by creating boundaries.
Examines and explains advanced assertiveness techniques and breaks them down in a manageable and easy way.
Explains in depth how to overcome the people-pleasing trap and gives step by step instructions on how to use assertiveness to say no.
Looks at how to handle criticism in a healthy, constructive and assertive way, enabling you to use it to propel you forward.
How To Halt Put-Downs – Immediate Responses
The best way to respond to put-downs – at least initially – is with humor. This disarms the perpetrator and fails to give them the reaction they want which is anger, you feeling ashamed or humiliated. A standard and very effective response to almost any put-down is:
‘Oww I love you too.’ (said to the perpetrator with fondness)
‘You wouldn’t know it but we’re dead close in real life.’ (said laughingly to onlookers)
Whilst the humorous response is effective in the short-term it doesn’t address the real problem – the fact that the perpetrator is demeaning you and invading your boundaries without consideration or respect, either in public or otherwise.
To address this behavior and communicate that it is unacceptable, whilst still keeping your integrity by acting respectful, assertiveness must be used. Anything else will fall short of effective.
Stay tuned – next Monday we get into the nitty gritty of how to halt put-downs assertively, a direct approach which is extremely effective in putting a stop to demeaning remarks.
This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming difficulty.
Do you like the idea of turning things around by using humor? Do you think you could adopt this approach the moment the put-down is delivered? Can you see how this is ultimately a short-term solution? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.