assertiveness

HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Four

 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Although being assertive may seem quite challenging at first, the benefits of open, honest communication are enormous and well worth the effort. When we learn to behave and communicate in an assertive way we immediately feel empowered and more in control. Most importantly we safeguard ourselves against the aggressive and passive aggressive games others play. After we have practiced assertiveness for a while our self-worth and self-respect improves, leading to greater levels of self-esteem and confidence.

 

Practicing assertiveness then becomes more natural as it reflects the higher value we have placed on ourselves. Eventually this leads to a greater sense of personal freedom. Like anything, the more we practice, the easier it gets.

 

For most of us assertiveness does not come readily. Becoming assertive involves changing the way we normally react to people and this is a new experience for both us and those around us. When I first set out to be assertive I did not get it right all the time, in fact I got it wrong more than I got it right! I knew that if I wanted to become an assertive person I needed to be patient with myself. When we feel like we have tripped up it is important not to give up, after all we are undergoing what can be a massive adjustment.

More

HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

This week we shall explore what to do when the person you are asserting yourself to persists in being either aggressive, passive aggressive or even by-passes your point altogether.

 

If the person you are speaking to takes the conversation off on a tangent and fails to respond to your remark, the broken record technique is very effective. When used correctly, with a calm and steady tone of voice, it helps the conversation to remain on point and maximizes the likelihood of the person responding to your comment. If this happens simply and calmly repeat your main point until the other person responds.

 

Negative assertion is a powerful assertiveness skill which can allow the person you are speaking with to feel heard and more validated. If the person criticizes you take time to honestly assess whether you agree with any of their points. If you do say so and explain what action you will take to avoid this behavior in future. For example, ‘I agree that at times my concentration is low and I shall endeavor to actively listen to you when you are explaining something to me in future’.

More

HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Two

 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we uncovered three boundaries relevant to us using the technique of self-reflection. In order for us to communicate our boundaries effectively we first need to become assertive. When we act assertively we protect our boundaries and prevent others from taking advantage of us.

 

Generally those of us that are passive confuse assertiveness for aggression. In truth, there is a wide gap between assertive and aggressive behavior. Aggressiveness violates others boundaries and, in contrast, assertiveness sets out to respect others boundaries whilst also protecting our own personal needs.

 

There are four essential points to assertive communication. The first is to acknowledge what the other person has said. This helps them feel understood and makes them more receptive to what you have to say. For example, you could start using statements like ‘I understand you think…’ or ‘ I understand you believe…’.

 

More

HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part One

 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

The author Mandy Hale once said “It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.” This really resonated with me as there have been many times in the past I have allowed others to treat me badly in an attempt to be more likable. After taking assertiveness training I am relieved this is now less of an issue in my life, but I continue to learn every day.

 

What struck me most about my training was how common this issue seems to be for so many, and just how deeply it can affect us. If others continually take advantage of us the cost can be devastating. It can lower our self-esteem and confidence and, in some severe cases, even lead to depression. But how others treat us often seems so beyond our control, after all, how can we change other people? Fortunately, the answer actually lies within us. More

How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

So now you know what to say it should be easy right? Well, you know what they say, when man makes plans, God laughs. Others may be resistant to the assertive changes within you so let’s discuss what we need to anticipate in those around us this week.

 

What To Expect When You Begin To Assertively Stand Up For Yourself

 

If you are new to assertively standing up for yourself, especially if you have resorted to being passive in the past, you need to anticipate a certain level of resistance from others who have previously taken for granted that they can put you down.

 

Although this makes the process of being assertive harder at first, stick with it – you will get stronger and more confident in asserting yourself if you persist. Remember, the perpetrator is expecting you to back down at the first hurdle and when you don’t you will send a very clear message that you are not going to tolerate being mistreated any longer.

 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that being assertive will be uncomfortable at first. Very uncomfortable even. You might feel anxious, afraid, angry or a mixture of all these emotions. Try your very best to remain calm externally. Your emotions will calm during assertive exchanges once you have more experience of asserting yourself. Be patient with the process, persist in asserting yourself consistently and have confidence that it will get easier.

More

How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

How To Halt Put-Downs The Assertive Way

 

Once time has passed and your emotions have cooled (at least a little) try to get the person in a neutral environment alone. If the person continues to put you down in front of others, maybe consider continuing to address the situation assertively – regardless of who is listening – as outlined below.

 

Most of all, remember to remain calm (at least on the outside) with a moderated tone of voice and open body language throughout the duration of the conversation, no matter what is being said. Remember, the moment you lose control and get angry or aggressive you give your power to the perpetrator which is exactly what they want.

 

Step One – Find Out The Intention Behind The Comment, Explain Your Thoughts And Feelings And Say What You Want

 

Repeat the put-down and then ask…

 

‘Can you say more about what you meant by that comment?’

 

The person may then reply by a further put-down such as ‘nothing, you’re overly sensitive’. Repeat the question and if they do not answer continue by saying…

 

‘I took the comment to mean (x, y, z). Is that what you meant by the comment?’

More

How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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:

 

How To Free Yourself And Assert Your Rights

 

A thorough look at the intrinsic rights we are all born with and how to protect them by creating boundaries.

 

Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking

 

Examines and explains advanced assertiveness techniques and breaks them down in a manageable and easy way.

 

Sick Of Over-Extending Yourself? Learn How To Say No

 

Explains in depth how to overcome the people-pleasing trap and gives step by step instructions on how to use assertiveness to say no.

 

The criticism quandary; How to handle criticism and emerge bigger and better for it

 

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:

More

The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Life roles; how to have them serve and support you by bringing the subconscious or unspoken into the conscious and communicated

 

So how do you begin to shape your life roles so they serve and support you? The biggest way is to bring what is usually the subconscious or unspoken into the conscious and communicated. There are many approaches you could use to do this, but as it is an emotionally charged  topic it needs to be handled in a delicate and sensitive way using assertiveness, otherwise it could do more damage than good.

 

Remember, assertiveness is not about winning or getting your own way – it is about working together to find a mutually agreeable solution in such a way that it respects not only your rights but the rights of others.

 

Our rights

 

For a recap on our inherent rights take a look below:

 

“I have the right to state my own needs and set my own priorities as a person, independent from any roles that I may assume in my life.” This right recognizes our existence beyond the roles we inhabit (whether they be that of a husband, wife, mother or father) and accepts we have priorities beyond the realms of those roles. We are all, at our core, individuals and this right highlights we should be treated as such. In truth, to have priorities for ourselves outside of the roles we inhabit is healthy as it promotes a sense of autonomy and individuality.

 

“I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being.” This is one of our most basic rights and yet one that is violated all too often. Absolutely all of us deserve to be treated with respect.

More

The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Life role expectations; how to avoid destruction and incompatibility

 

Your own subconscious expectations

 

One of the most subtle but debilitating ways our life roles can destroy us is by the subconscious emotional baggage that each of us carry, suddenly exposed when we take on new roles. I encountered this when in my previous marriage, but only recognized it as such in retrospect.

 

Has anyone ever told you that marriage changes everything? Well, this is what they are referring to, even though they may not be consciously aware of it. In truth, if you are an agnostic or atheist, marriage is just a piece of paper. However, beneath the surface often lies a psychological battle waiting to manifest itself once you sign on the dotted line. The good news? Once you are consciously aware of it, this battle loses all of its power over you, rendering it redundant.

 

The psychological battle and emotional baggage I am referring to? The subconscious expectations you place on yourself for each life role. Naturally you will have conscious expectations as to how the new role will play out however what I am speaking of goes much, much deeper.

 

In the case of marriage it originates from what your notion of a ‘good wife’ or ‘good husband’ is but it doesn’t stop there – the subconscious notions of what constitutes a good wife or husband stem from your parents, from how they modeled this role, to how happy their marriage was and even to how they spoke about it.

 

Indeed, the ways your parents modeled these roles to you have provided you with things you subconsciously believe to be a good wife or husband, or may have given you the belief that in order to be a good wife or husband you must avoid certain behaviors.  If neither of your parents were married, this might have subconsciously modeled indirect messages of what it means to be married, impacting how you see marriage itself.

More

Has criticism got you anxious or stressed? How to get back to feeling fab

It’s natural to sometimes feel anxious or stressed when receiving criticism however we should never underestimate the impact anxiety and stress has on us. Both stress and anxiety can have far-reaching effects which can seep into almost all areas of our life, leaving us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

 

I always used to get confused between anxiety and stress but my therapist gave me an insightful way to distinguish between them. Whilst anxiety is invariably related to our perception of the future stress is a reaction to the present.

 

If you think you may be suffering with anxiety or if you often feel anxious when receiving criticism please read my article titled ‘Wars of the mind: How to effectively overcome anxiety’ which uses tried and true cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help reduce and even overcome anxiety.

More

« Older Entries