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How to Assert Yourself

What are the benefits of being assertive?

  1. It raises self-esteem
  2. Helps you to be a more effective communicator
  3. Resolve conflicts amicably
  4. Helps to control stress and anger
  5. Improves coping skills
  6. Helps you to set limits
  7. Teaches you how to say "no" kindly and with respect
  8. It gives you the best chance of successfully delivering your message
  9. It brings you increased respect from others

How to be assertive:

  1. Take a deep breath and wait until you are calm
  2. Rehearse what you want to say, before saying it.
  3. Ask for a time when both of you can sit down and have a short discussion.
  4. Start with an "I feel" statement.
  5. Express how you feel.
  6. Describe what you would like
  7. Ask for an agreement

In order for these skills to be effective; timing, body language, and tone are essential. If you are angry, impatient, or resentful, your tone will overshadow your words, and you will sound aggressive, not assertive.

Learn the difference between being assertive, passive, and aggressive.

Passive behaviour:

  • Denying your feelings
  • Allowing others to choose for you
  • Don't "rock the boat"
  • Giving up your power
  • Withdrawal from the situation

Aggressive behaviour:

  • Needing to win at any cost
  • Needing to be right
  • Anger, hostile, threats, insulting behaviour

Assertive behaviour:

  • Standing up for your rights
  • Using "I feel" statements
  • Expressing your thoughts and feeling
  • Treating yourself and others with respect
  • Looking for mutual satisfaction at achieving a desired goal

Example of how to communicate assertively:

  1. Identify the situation, "I feel attacked when you yell at me"
  2. Express how you feel about it, "It makes me feel unfairly treated and hurt."
  3. Describe what you would like, "I would like you to be calm and able to express your frustration without being hurtful."
  4. Ask for an agreement, "Do you think that is something you can do the next time?"
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