There will be times when you have to speak up for yourself and others. Avoiding conflict is unrealistic; it leads to resentment, bitterness and passive aggressive behaviour. This can cause a tremendous amount of undue stress, anxiety and interpersonal discomfort.
Assertiveness is being able to express yourself with confidence and certainty to protect your rights, boundaries and opinions in a way that also respects the dignity and rights of others. By doing this you have the ability to enhance relationships and build self-esteem.
The next time you are unfairly treated, disrespected or have your boundaries violated, try to calmly let the other person know how you feel. Example: “I feel upset when…”, “I would prefer that…”, “Would you please…”
- Do start with situations that are easy.
- Don’t expect instant success.
- Do express your position or opinion respectfully.
- Don’t expect to be anxiety or guilt free, and don’t beat yourself up if you do feel anxiety or guilt.
- Do expect others to initially be surprised.
- Don’t expect others to necessarily agree.
- Do try again… Practice makes perfect!
By practicing assertiveness you can demonstrate self-respect while respecting the rights and needs of others. This ability allows you to express yourself without hurting other peoples’ feelings, being disrespectful or being dishonest.
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