Learn to say what you mean, calmly and clearly, right when you need to.
Lack of assertiveness can cause problems in all sorts of situations, not least in relationships and at work.
Assertiveness training often misses a vital ingredient – the ability to stay calm while stating your case, which often causes people to stop trying – they think being more assertive is beyond them.
Being Assertive is not just using a certain set of communication skills or behaviours. Assertiveness is, first and foremost an attitude of mind with an accompanying set of beliefs about yourself and the world around you.
Many people go on assertiveness training courses expecting an instant personality transplant. You cannot change the message without changing the messenger, so assertiveness begins by examining the hidden beliefs we have about our worth and the worth of other people.
Following Assertive Rights will help you understand what exactly Assertiveness is.
- I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts and emotions and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequence. The behavior of others may have an impact upon me, but I determine how I choose to react and/or deal with each situation
- I have the right to offer neither reason nor excuse to justify my behavior. I need not rely upon others to judge whether my actions are proper or correct. Others may state disagreement or disapproval, but I have the option to disregard their preferences or to work out a compromise. I may choose to respect their preferences and consequently modify my behavior. What is important is that it is my choice.
- I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to others’ problems. I am ultimately responsible for my own psychological well-being and happiness. I may feel concern and compassion and good will for others, but I am neither responsible for nor do I have the ability to create mental stability and happiness for others.
- I have the right to change my mind. As a human being, nothing in my life is necessarily constant or rigid. My interests and needs may well change with the passage of time. The possibility of changing my mind is normal, healthy and conducive to self-growth. Others may try to manipulate my choice by asking that I admit error or by stating that I am irresponsible; it is nevertheless unnecessary for me to justify my decision
- I have the right to say “I don’t know.”, “I don’t understand” & “I don’t care.”
- I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior.
- I have the right to be independent of the good will of others before coping with them. It would be unrealistic for me to expect others to approve of all my actions, regardless of their merit. If I were to assume that I required others’ goodwill before being able to cope with them effectively, I would leave myself open to manipulation. It is unlikely that I require the goodwill and/or cooperation of others in order to survive. A relationship does not require 100 percent agreement.
- I have the right to be illogical in making decisions. I sometimes employ logic as a reasoning process to assist me in making judgments. However, logic cannot predict what will happen in every situation. Logic is not much help in dealing with wants, motivations and feelings. Logic generally deals with “black or white,” “all or none” and “yes or no” issues. Logic and reasoning don’t always work well when dealing with the gray areas of the human condition.
Assertive communication means that a person respects the rights and feelings of other people but still is direct and honest, clarifying one’s needs to others. Some people are naturally assertive, but many of us are not and it is something that I think we all should learn because the skill of assertiveness helps us greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in our lives which helps us to avoid a remarkable source of stress.