Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to be more assertive Part 2

In this post,  I want to explore some of the misconceptions about assertiveness and my rationale for being unassertive.


The main reason for unassertive behaviour is a fear of what might happen if you are assertive. What do you fear might happen if you did stand up for your rights? You may fear that you would feel extremely guilty or anxious after asserting yourself. These fears are usually based on false beliefs about assertiveness. Let's have a look at some of these myths.

I'll be being selfish if I say what I want: All we are doing by being assertive is putting our own needs on an equal level with the needs of other people. It is important for our own well being to do this. This is helpful for other people as well. We are not doing anyone a favour by letting them take us for granted or get whatever they want from us.
Here is another example of how it can help other people. Supposing you were watching a film in a cinema and the person behind you was talking all the time. By politely saying something like: "excuse me, would you mind not talking while the film is on", you would be helping both yourself and the people around you.
Note that this is quite different from an aggressive comment like "Why don't you shut up!" which is only likely to lead to an argument.

If I stand up for myself the other person will become upset and angry: This assumes that other people are always unreasonable. Remember, you are only asking to be treated as an equal and not making big demands. Most people will recognise this and accept your point of view. In fact, you may be surprised how easily they agree with you.

People won't like me if I say what I want: Think of the people you know who are assertive. Do you think any less of them for that? The chances are you respect them more for being assertive. People are likely to think more of you if you assert yourself as it means they know where they stand with you.

I feel too anxious to start being assertive: This is something of a vicious circle. Being assertive for the first time is always hard but it becomes easier after that.

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