Assert yourself! The crazy, hustle-bustle holiday season is approaching. By learning how to occasionally say “no” and treating each other with respect, you can take control of the demands at work and home you are facing. You must learn how to not fret over your own feelings of guilt, fears of rejection or possible repercussions. You can still be helpful and considerate of others, but you must take care of yourself first. Before you respond to someone, ask yourself, “What would make me most happy and fulfilled?” Once you develop assertive communication skills, you will be able to effectively handle difficult people and awkward situations.
Aggressive Communication Looks Like This:
“This is what you’re going to do and you have no say in the matter.” Too many dominating, overbearing behaviors surface and push people away or into submission. The aggressive person lacks self-esteem and acts out of fear to control people and situations. Unfortunately, most people get turned off and don’t want to be around this type of person because they are too disrespectful and demanding.
Passive Communication Looks Like This:
“Whatever you ask, I’ll do it whether I want to or not.” Too many unwanted yes’s build up resentment and passive-aggressive behaviors can surface. The passive person lacks self-worth and self-respect. Unfortunately, the word of a passive person cannot be trusted because they are not open and honest about their feelings, needs or opinions.
Assertive Communication Looks Like This:
“I know that this is important to you. This is also important to me. Let’s talk about some options that are fair to both of us.” Respectful, healthy behaviors evolve. This healthy, mature style says, “I hear you. You matter, and I matter too.”
7 Tips to Say “No” and Assert Yourself Today
- Become self-aware of your communication and behavior patterns. What is consistently happening in your life? How do these patterns affect you?
- Evaluate the reasons you feel the need to please or control everyone.
- Realize the goal of assertive communication is to express your thoughts and boundaries while being direct, honest and respectful of others.
- Realize it is necessary and okay to say “no” sometimes and to ask questions.
- Example for Anyone: “I see why this is important to you. I am unable to help this time. Let’s try to figure out some other possible solutions that could work.”
- Example for Boss: “This is what is on my plate right now. Which one of these priorities would you prefer I remove to accommodate your request?”
- Example for Anyone: “I’d love to join you but my schedule is already full that week. Please keep me in mind the next time. Have fun.”
If you do not address your own unique needs, your frustrations will build, you will feel taken for granted and your performances and relationships will suffer. As Dr. Phil says, “We teach people how to treat us.” It is up to you to face the fears and guilt you carry from your disease to please. Find your courage to change and grow. When you stop feeling guilty and seeking approval of others, your days will be fueled by positive energy, confidence and self-respect. You will feel empowered and in control of your life because you utilized your power of choice. You hold the power. Enjoy the season and assert yourself today!