How we learn not to be assertive can be tracked and attributed to our personal history.
Often this programming is unintentional but nonetheless it shapes how we express ourselves and how effectively we get our needs met.
• As a child did you learn that it wasn’t acceptable to have needs, express them and have them met?
‘I’m not hungry’. ‘Eat your dinner anyway!’
• Were you told not to feel what you felt?
‘there’s no reason to be angry’ or ‘don’t be upset
• Were your criticised or ridiculed for saying what you thought?
• Were you told it was better not to speak up?
• Did you learn by shouting louder or longer you got your way?
So how does the past show up in the here and now?
• Are their circumstances and situations in your life where you know that you ‘should’ be assertive but are not?
• Are there issues in a personal relationship that you know need talking about , but you just don’t know how to say how you feel?
• Are you really uncomfortable with or unable to set personal boundaries?
• Do you sit in silence rather than speak up for what you want or what you feel you deserve?
• Are there certain people that you always fight with, run away from or simply freeze with?
The importance of assertiveness is because it is important to
• Respect yourself
• Respect the rights and needs of others
• Respond to early clues that there is an issue
• Keep your statements to your own experience, not predict how it is for the other person
• Just because you are assertive doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the outcome you were looking for , and that is OK
• Your aim is to create connection and understanding, and sometimes that will mean giving yourself and the other person permission to agree to disagree
How to communicate assertively
• Communicate from the heart, this isn’t about winning at all cost, it isn’t about blaming
• Listening is just as important as talking
• Put the ‘shoulds’ away, it is a sure fire way to kill communication
• Work out what is that you really want, and realise that your way isn’t necessarily the only way to get there
• If you have too much on your plate rather than get resentful or stressed start setting some personal boundaries. Stop saying Yes when you really mean NO
• Be clear in what you are saying
• Be honest if another persons’ behaviour is causing you problems. It is you that has issue, the other person may not even be aware that their behaviour is an issue
• If the behaviour you are exposed to is unacceptable, set your limits, and if that doesn’t work it is ok to remove yourself from the situation
• Sometimes a simple NO will do it
• If you are wrong, don’t try to cover it up, just because you have made a mistake it doesn’t make you less valuable as a person. Apologise if required, acknowledge your error and move on.
# Effective communication
Copyright 2012,2013,2014 On Topic Media PTY LTD. ABN 18113479226.