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


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.


How To Navigate The Ups And Downs Of Becoming More Assertive


I know all too well that when I have worked on becoming more assertive I have had many ups and downs. I have spoken too softly out of nerves, appearing more passive than desired. I have backed down or avoided asserting myself at times. I have minced my words and avoided direct eye contact.


All this is understandable, after all very few of us become assertive overnight. It takes time, practice and patience, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Be your own best friend throughout the process and realize that you are doing the best you can. You’re reading this article, which means you want to work on it, and that’s something to be celebrated.


Don’t see these events as a failure and think you don’t have the capacity to assert yourself – these bumps in the road are simply a learning curve, guiding you towards asserting yourself better in future. Assertiveness is a skill, and, just like any skill, it takes time to develop.


If during your assertiveness journey you struggle with your inner-critic berating you, please read my article on self-compassion titled ‘How To Silence Your Inner-Critic And Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion’.


Put-downs can be particularly vicious because of their indirect nature, making it hard to address in the moment but by using assertiveness we can turn the tide on nasty retorts, meaning we no longer need to feel bullied and demeaned.


Although I know what assertiveness techniques to use for put-downs, it doesn’t mean I find it easy. Assertiveness is hard. I can’t deny that I still find it daunting to be assertive, especially at work, but since learning about assertiveness I am less fearful of it, though I’ve realized I need to memorize my responses so I’m more prepared in future. Like anything, it is a process and I know I am still on my journey, being patient with the process.


Join me in daring to be more assertive and reap the rewards of knowing that if anyone demeans you, you will let them know you deserve to be treated with both consideration and respect, propelling your self-esteem and gaining others respect.


Further Resources:


‘The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself and in Relationships’ by Randy J Paterson, PhD


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 feel ready to begin asserting yourself when someone puts you down? How would your life look if you developed the skill of assertiveness? Did you do any of the exercises in this month’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday posts? What next steps towards becoming more assertive do you see yourself taking? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.



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