Assertiveness is a Journey – WOMEN in RECOVERY

 Assertiveness is a Journey 

‘Moving towards assertiveness …

will reduce your stress levels and improve your confidence’.

Assertiveness is a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.

It’s a journey though, and needs to be seen as such.

Becoming assertive overnight is more about “Hollywood Movies” than it is real life.

Expecting yourself to instantly speak up in situations where you previously haven’t been speaking up is unrealistic for most people.

So begin your journey with the little things.

Perhaps it’s a movie that you don’t want to watch, you could say, “I don’t want to watch [movie name goes here] because it makes me feel [the emotion you don’t want to experience goes here].

It might be a “take out” meal that you don’t want to have, “I don’t want to have pizza tonight because eating pizza doesn’t make me feel good tonight”.

The first time you try it, you might give in, and that’s OK too. It’s all about practice, taking the time to build up your confidence and progressively giving your boundaries a push. As you become more comfortable with making the initial statements of assertiveness, you can begin to add in the “broken record” technique.

Each time you are challenged on the topic, you just repeat the same statement. “I don’t want to have pizza tonight because eating pizza doesn’t make me feel good tonight”.

It doesn’t matter how many times you are pushed towards having a pizza for a takeout meal, you just keep repeating the same statement.

The basic rule of putting an assertive statement together is to:

1. State the facts
2. State how it effects you in terms of your feelings.

Begin with the small stuff, the things that you feel you have the strength to do. Being assertive in those small areas will give you the confidence to take on bigger challenges, progressively working your way up the assertiveness ladder

A word of caution, if you are dealing with a physically violent, or emotionally violent person, don’t use this technique. You should be seeking individual specialist advice to help you with your situation.

You’re here to be happy, not treated like a doormat – begin standing up for your happiness.

Richard A. Luck

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