Assertiveness for Beginners

Being assertive will reduce your stress levels and improve your confidence, but becoming assertive is a progression not an instant change. Becoming assertive overnight, say, expecting yourself to instantly speak up in situations where you haven’t previously spoken up, is an unrealistic expectation for most people.  It’s a journey and needs to be seen as such. So begin your journey with the little things.

Perhaps it’s a movie you don’t want to watch.  You could say, “I don’t want to watch [movie name] because it makes me feel [the emotion you don’t want to experience].”

It might be a takeout meal you don’t want to have: “I don’t want to eat pizza tonight because eating pizza doesn’t make me feel good tonight”.

The first time you try it, you might give in, and that’s OK. It’s all about practice, taking time to build your confidence and progressively giving your boundaries a push.  As you become more comfortable with making the initial statements of assertiveness, you can begin to add in the “broken record” technique.

Each time you are challenged on the topic, you just repeat the same statement. “I don’t want to have pizza tonight because eating pizza doesn’t make me feel good tonight”.  It doesn’t matter how many times you are pushed towards having the pizza, just keep repeating the same statement.

The basic rule of putting an assertive statement together is to:

1. State the facts
2. State how it affects you (how it feels).

Begin with the small stuff, the things that you feel you have the strength to do. Being assertive in those small areas will give you the confidence to take on bigger challenges, progressively working your way up the assertiveness ladder

**A word of caution, don’t use this technique if you are dealing with a physically or emotionally violent/abusive person. You should seek the help of an individual specialist to assist you with your situation.**

You’re here to be happy, not treated like a doormat – begin standing up for your happiness.

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