By popular demand, here's a little follow up to my previous post Are You Feeling Taken Advantage Of? , which describes basic concepts and skills of assertiveness. As described before, assertiveness means standing up for your rights and not being taken advantage of.
Many people, especially women, have difficulty with assertiveness for fear of seeming aggressive or "bitchy", thereby worrying about displeasing others and not being liked. But how is being assertive different from 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." Being aggressive means standing up for yourself in ways that violate the rights of others. On the other hand, being assertive means communicating clearly, respecting your own rights and feelings and the rights and feelings of others.
The first step to developing assertiveness is knowing your rights. This will make it easier to stand up for them. Often we have difficulty standing up for ourselves because we don't know if we have the right to. Here is a list of basic rights to consider when standing up for yourself:
- The right to be treated with respect.
- The right to say no without feeling guilty.
- The right to experience your feelings.
- The right to take time to slow down and think.
- The right to change your mind.
- The right to ask for what you want/need.
- The right to ask for information.
- The right to make mistakes.
- The right to say, “I don’t know.”
- The right to be listened to and taken seriously.
- The right to set your own priorities.
If we know and can remind ourselves of these rights, we can then formulate responses to difficult and stressful situations that require assertiveness. For more tips on assertiveness, feel free to check out again my previous post. For more information on my private practice in Houston, feel free to check out my practice webpage.