Shoo the Beasts and the Bullies Away By Being More Assertive
What Does Assertiveness Mean?
An assertive individual has the unique ability to deal with issues, neither belittling him- or herself nor attacking others in the course of problem-solving. An assertive person knows his or her rights and takes courage to protect those rights. Assertiveness encompasses stating your opinion and being able to defend your worth and your rights. When you are assertive, other people cannot easily take advantage of you. Moreover, you become more tolerant, open, and considerate of other people's feelings. To be assertive implies overcoming feelings of fear and to face issues that require resolution and communicate feelings of anger without putting other people on the defensive.
Assertiveness carries with it the recognition of personal rights. Included in these personal rights are the following:
- To say no and not be guilty about it
- To alter your perception about anything
- To take time in formulating a response to a question or comment
- To seek assistance with directions or instructions
- To ask for what your want
- To express your feelings
- To feel optimistic about yourself
- To make mistakes without feeling guilty or embarrassed
- To own your convictions and opinions
- To protest unfair criticism or treatment
- To be acknowledged for your significant contributions or achievements
Typically, there are some individuals toward whom we are less than assertive in the way we act. Usually, they are people in authority, such as parents and bosses. Being unassertive can happen with anyone by whom we feel intimidated, including members of the opposite sex, individuals perceived to be better looking than us, and all strangers.
To change this behavior, there should be an acknowledgment that present behavior is undesirable and may promote stress. As soon as awareness and the desire to change happen, then alternative behaviors can be created and adopted.
1. Say no whenever you can.
Often, we are asked to help our family, co-workers, and friends with their responsibilities. And there are moments when we cannot complete a task all by ourselves. Ethics taught us that we must work collaboratively and help each other in times of need. Through time, this belief has become warmed so that we put other people's needs before ours. Saying no is perceived as rudeness, and doing so leads to feelings of rejection. On the other hand, saying yes when it is impossible or inconvenient results in victimization and resentment in ourselves. However, it is important to remember that we all have the right to refuse a request without being guilty about it. Other people's issues and problems are not as important as yours and that you are not obligated to solve the world's problems. DO NOT LET OTHER PEOPLE'S COMMENTS MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY!
2. Use "I" as often as you can.
Be comfortable in expressing yourself and your emotions by using "I" in your statements. For instance, "I feel frustrated about..." or "I believe you are incorrect." This skill teaches others spontaneity in expressing themselves, instead of suppressing their emotions. Using the "I" statements motivates an individual to claim ownership of feelings, thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, and opinions.The use of "I" in your statements may also strengthen your ego boundaries.
3. Use the magic of eye contact.
The way we move is a significant communication skill. Non-verbal communication is more believed than the spoken language. Inadequate eye contact is perceived by others as either insecurity or dishonesty. Eye contact is most difficult when expressing feelings toward another person for fear of rejection. To learn this skill, begin with a short time interval.Never stare into another person's eyes for a long time as this is perceived as a violation of personal space.
4. Let there be peace in disagreements.
When facts and opinions are stated in a peaceful manner so that all perspectives can be considered during a decision-making process, then disagreement becomes healthy. This form of assertiveness skill enables the person to become at ease with peaceful confrontation. It is used when one feels the need to state an opposing view and want it to be recognized.
5. Avoid manipulation
On the process of assertion, you may find that other people may unconsciously or consciously attempt to block your attempts to achieve resolution.Be wary of these roadblocks by bearing in mind some of these approaches that may help in dismantling them:
- Intimidation. Asserting yourself may be perceived by others as a form of intimidation. This is particularly true among those who use control and manipulation to get their way. They raise their voices and exhibit their tempers. When his happens, you can defuse it by telling them that you wish to hold off further discussion of the issue until the other party calms down.
- Content Substitution. At times, people will inculcate peripheral issues into a discussion so as to detail the issue at hand. If you are aware that the concern you brought up has become lost in tangential issues,quickly change focus back to the main topic until your issue has been put to rest.
- Character Assassination. Often, in an effort to resolve an issue, the individual you are talking to comes back to you with a character flaw. One way to be back on track is to conform, in part, concerning the character flaw and ignore the rest. When using this technique, rephrase the attack in your best interest, and get back to the issue at hand.
- Avoidance. Many times, people deny the existence of a problem by avoiding their feelings about a particular issue or concern. This obstacle can be confronted with a bold inquiry. For instance, "Is there anything I did to make you feel frustrated?"
6. Be responsive than reactive.
A reaction is a form of reflex, nearly instinctual in nature, and a natural component of the human behavior. A reaction deals with emotional thoughts. A response, on the contrary, is a thought-out plan for a situation. A lot of times, our response parallels our reaction, and this is when we are likely to hope we had carefully thought before we acted or spoke. Responding to an event means recognizing our initial reaction, then considering a reasonable response to the circumstance. Not all responses will be adequate, but as you master this skill, you will discover that it will help you manage your perceptions of stress.
These are just some of the recommended behaviors to become more assertive. The main objective of all these skills is to establish and maintain self-esteem.