4 R’s of being assertive

Many of us struggle on a daily basis with being assertive.

It can be very stressful and get you into all sorts of uncomfortable situations.  Have you ever found yourself doing something and thought, why did I agree to this?  Would you like to be able to say no and not feel bad?  Would you like to learn some effective and non-bitchy ways to say no?  Have you ever wanted to ask for something but struggled to find the right words or felt you were unable to ask for what you need?

What is assertiveness?

It’s about speaking your truth in a respectful way that honors the rights of yourself and others.  It’s about being able to say no and about being able to ask for what you want or need.

4 R’s of being Assertive:

1. Respect for yourself and others:

“Assertiveness can happen when our self respect and our respect for others in balance”

2. Rights for yourself and others

Assertiveness is based on core beliefs… that I have rights and so do other people.“Assertiveness can happen when we balance our rights with the rights of others.”

3. Responsibility:

Whose responsibility is it? “Assertiveness can happen when we balance our responsibility to ourselves with our responsibility to others.”

4. Rational Thinking:

An ability to think rationally and explore your beliefs is important if you want to be able to be assertive.
Often irrational and learned beliefs can get in the way of our ability to be assertive.

Here are Ten common irrational beliefs, that can lead to non-assertive behavior.  As you read through them, write your new, more rational beliefs.

  1. You must prove yourself thoroughly competent, adequate and achieving, or you must at least have real competence or talent at something important. For example: I would like to be competent, but I don’t have to be.  Success does not determine my values.  My value comes from the way I think about myself.
  2. You must – yes, must – have sincere love and approval almost all the time for all the people you find significant.
  3. You have to view life as awful, terrible, horrible or catastrophic when things do not go the way you would like for them to go.
  4. People who harm you or commit misdeeds rate as generally bad, wicked or villainous individuals, and you should severely blame, damn and punish them for their sins.
  5. If something seems dangerous or fearsome, you must become terribly preoccupied and upset about it.
  6. People and things should turn out better than they do, and you have to view it as awful and horrible if you do not quickly find good solutions to life’s hassles.
  7. Emotional misery comes from external pressures, and you have little ability to control your feelings or rid yourself of depression and hostility.
  8. You will find it easier to avoid facing many of life’s difficulties and self-responsibilities than to undertake more rewarding forms of self-discipline.
  9. Your past remains all-important, and because something once strongly influenced your life it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today.
  10. You can achieve happiness by inertia and inaction or by passively and uncommittedly “enjoying yourself”.

Where is your irrational thinking tripping you up?

Using Assertive Language:       Here are some Assertiveness statements for you to practice DAILY:

When you want to be assertive start your sentence with one of the following:

I feel, I think, I know, I believe, I want, I would like, I need

For example:  “I need to see the supervisor”.  “This box is damaged I would like a discount”.  “Thank you, however, I feel there needs to be a bigger discount.”

Remember to practice, information is wasted if not applied! Good luck, Lexia


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