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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Being Assertive

Standing up for your rights and not being taken advantage of is one definition of being assertive. It also means communicating what you really want in a clear fashion, respecting your own rights and feelings and the rights and feelings of others. Assertion is an honest and appropriate expression of one's feelings, opinions, and needs. Whereas, being aggressive means standing up for yourself in ways that violate the rights of others.
There is very thin line between Being Assertive & Being Aggressive. Aggressive behavior is typically punishing, hostile, blaming, and demanding. It can involve threats, name-calling, and even actual physical contact. It can also involve sarcasm, catty comments, gossip and "slips of the tongue." Assertion is an honest and appropriate expression of one's feelings, opinions, and needs, whereas, being aggressive means standing up for yourself in ways that violate the rights of others.
There is a myth among people that being assertive is very difficult to achieve. It does take self-analysis and practice but it worth the effort put in.
Most people are not assertive for fear of displeasing others and of not being liked. However, although you may avoid some immediate unpleasantness by not being assertive, you could also jeopardize the relationship in the long run if you refuse to assert yourself and then feel taken advantage of over and over again.

Here are some ways that can help you become more Assertive in life:
  • Respect both yourself and the other person (or people) involved
  • . It all starts here. This is the foundation. Respect of everyone is necessary.
  • Think before you act: Whenever you are asked for a favor stop and think about it first. Put in mind that you are not obligated to do it and that if it goes against your interests then you must say NO. This may not be as easy as it sounds but as the time passes you will get used to it and it will become an easy task.
  • Stand up for your rights without being aggressive: Whenever you find that your rights are being violated stand up for them. For example if someone took your turn in a queue then talk to him immediately and tell him/her.
  • Always begin with a disarming statement. Whenever, you start an Assertive conversation try to be understanding and considerate. You use some of these guidelines:
    • Compliment the other person. But then again, the compliment must be sincere. E.g. “Thank you.” , “You really mean a lot to me” or “Thank you for your advice or “Thank you for your opinion” etc.
    • Apologize for any part of anything you may have done wrong or apologize that the person took offense to something you have done. E.g. “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry. I really messed up this time” or “I’m really sorry you took offense at what I said (or did).
    • Agree with the person. E.g. “You’re right….”, “I can see why you would say that” or “That makes sense.
    • Acknowledge their thoughts and/or feelings. Everybody wants to be understood. This one shows the person that you are talking to that they are understood. E.g. “I can see that you are really frustrated” or “I can see that you are very upset about this.” or “I can see that this makes you sad.”
  • Use I statements to sound more assertive: Always speak for yourself rather than speaking in general. This also shows how confident you are. For example " I can’t concentrate while that noise is present" not “we” or "I don't want to go for a walk now, I prefer to do something else."
  • Overcome shyness. Shyness can range from healthy to overwhelming and debilitating. Shyness is not the same as having low self esteem. Many shy people have a very positive image of themselves, but they lack assertiveness and confidence. So if you are shy try to Practice speeches in front of a mirror or with trusted friends will help you gain the confidence you need. Positively visualize situations and circumstances before experiencing them.
  • Speak up with confidence even if you don't feel confident. Practice speaking this way. The more you practice the more it will become second nature. First and foremost, you must believe in yourself and your abilities
Being confident and assertive can enable you to achieve your goals with ease, whatever they may be.

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