HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Four


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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.


HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Three

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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’.


HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part Two


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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…’.



HIGHLIGHTS: Assertiveness; A journey worth taking; Part One


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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

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

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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.


How to compromise with family over the holidays

Over the holidays family members can get stressed with all of the expectations of a perfect Christmas. When strong characters clash, tension can arise and conflict can occur. If you would like to eliminate some of the holiday stress please read my article titled ‘Tis the season to be stressed; how to leave stress behind you for good’.


One of the key ways we can reach compromises with family members is to respect the rights of others whilst protecting our own rights by using assertiveness.


In her book ‘A Woman In Your Own Right: Assertiveness And You’ Anne Dickson lists the following as our intrinsic rights:


Angry much? The critical message our anger is sending us (and why you need to hear it)

Like anyone, I’ve had my angry moments. One of the things I learnt in treatment was that often our anger comes from when our rights have been violated. For example, I have the right to my own opinions and beliefs. Has anyone ever imposed their opinion on you, said you were wrong or foolish and made you angry? That’s because they violated your rights!


Being angry is often a strong indication that our rights are being violated and knowing our rights is critical if we are to protect ourselves against others abusing them whilst creating healthy boundaries for our lives.


Below is a list of rights we all have that can be protected if we assert ourselves in a non aggressive manner:


1)      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.

2)      I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being.

3)      I have the right to express my feelings.

4)      I have the right to express my opinions and values.

5)      I have the right to say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ for myself.

6)      I have the right to make mistakes and forgive myself.

7)      I have the right to change my mind.

8)      I have the right to say ‘I don’t understand’ and ask for more information.

9)      I have the right to ask for what I want.

10)   I have the right to decline responsibility for other peoples problems.

11)    I have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval.


If you would like to know about your rights and why they are important in depth please read my article titled ‘How to Free Yourself and Assert Your Rights’ and if you’d like to know more about creating healthy boundaries please read ‘Assertiveness: A Journey Worth Taking’.


So the next time you are angry ask yourself – is someone abusing your rights and crossing a personal boundary?


Did you know your rights? Can you recall a time when you got angry as a result of someone abusing your rights? In future do you plan to assert your rights and create healthy boundaries in a non aggressive way? I’d love to hear from you so please comment below to gain support, encouragement and insight from our community.

Sick of over-extending yourself? Learn how to say No; Part Three

Like any new skill, it takes time to develop the ability to say no. Keep in mind that any failed attempts are still worthwhile and contribute towards good experience and practise. Remember to be patient with yourself. It will be unfamiliar territory at first and may even be scary but if you are persistent it will become easier with time.


An excellent way to improve your confidence in this area is to note down the details of every time you successfully say no in your first month. When the month is finished look back on all of your successes. Reward yourself by going out for a meal or watching a film at the cinema. Every time you have a setback read through this list again. Looking over your success stories in this way will serve not only to boost your confidence, but also give you the resolve to keep going.


How to free yourself and assert your rights; Part Three


Picture courtesy of www.gamelearn.com

Picture courtesy of www.gamelearn.com


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. More

How to free yourself and assert your rights; Part Two


Picture courtesy of www.gamelearn.com

Picture courtesy of www.gamelearn.com


Last week we discovered Anne Dickson’s list of rights as outlined in her book ‘Assertiveness and You: A Woman In Your Own Right’. These are intrinsic rights which we were all born with and in asserting these rights we recognise our own worth as dignified human beings. In fact, the very act of asserting these rights serves to boost our self-esteem. Let’s explore them in more detail to better understand them and the importance they hold in our lives.


“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 recognises 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. More

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