Stand up for yourself
(Best five ways to be assertive)
That’s not what my mother taught me when I was a child. That’s what I have learnt over the years of greying my hair. Our upbringing did not hold space for such freedom. We are brought up in an environment where too much of importance is given to others and very less to self. But times have changed and to be in sync with the changing times, we need to change and this change is for the better, so why not embrace it? It took me years to realize that there are many flaws at keeping mum. Some of us are of those aggressive kinds who show tantrums and outbursts at the slightest prick, but that too is dangerous. So being submissive or aggressive are two extremes and are associated with a baggage of negativities. Being aggressive will make you look like a bully and most importantly will cost the relationship. That spurt of adrenaline will take its toll and will express itself through various psychosomatic diseases. Being submissive leaves you with a feeling of being victimized, deeply hurt, inferior, worthless which comes with an array of diseases too. Your self worth takes a dip and bringing it back to normal becomes a herculean task. The worst is, people may use you as a doormat and that too repeatedly. So why vouch for either of these, let us opt for the midway and that is to be assertive. Here are a few tips which will help you adapt the wonderful habit of “Assertiveness”.
Best five ways to be assertive.
1) Understand assertiveness.
2) Shed off the feeling of guilt.
3) Be clear, direct and honest.
4) Think win-win.
5) Restore the bond of relationship.
1) Understand assertiveness- Assertiveness is a midway between two extremes that is submissiveness and aggressiveness. It is at a point of exact balance between the two. Every human being has needs, feelings and beliefs which need to be expressed. It is better to voice them at the appropriate time or it loses the value attached to it. If it is not voiced in a healthy way, it will manifest itself in some ugly form like some psychosomatic diseases. Assertiveness is basically to voice one’s opinion without hurting the other person. One disturbing experience was at a party when a highly educated man was insulting his wife repeatedly and was treating her as an object with no feelings and that lady though hurt deeply, did not utter a single word. That is when I realized the importance of being assertive and standing for oneself so that people have to think twice before they utter a single abusive word for you.
2) Shed off the feeling of guilt- I wonder why we have a feeling of guilt when we give some importance to ourselves. When God created humans or let me put it this way that when humans were born, we did not appear with a price tag. Very high for some and extremely low for others. Of course, we must respect others and value them but that does not mean that in the process, we must not value and respect ourselves. We all are born equal and if somebody tries to put you down in some way, it is our birth right to stand up for ourselves and let the message go loud and clear that we are equals and and nobody can crush us down. If you refrain from doing it, people will take you for granted and that is a costly affair.
3) Be clear, direct and honest- It’s not a crime to voice your own thoughts, opinions, feelings, ideas, etc. So let’s be confident about it. Let us align our words, tone and body language to be assertive. The message will be conveyed in an impactful way. Don’t beat around the bush, the message will lose its worthiness and also it’s exact meaning. Let us be direct and honest about what we mean to say.
4) Think win-win- The other person sounded rude and inhuman. If we too do the same, we will be no different from him/her. Show through your words and actions that you respect them and yourself too. You are neither inferior nor superior to him/her. Making them realize this is of great significance, so that he/ she does not take things for granted and repeat the same action with you the next time and also that he/she will be careful when dealing with others too.
5) Restore the bond of relationship- Many keep shut in the name of saving the relationship. But to be honest does this really help? The hurt, the resentment bottled up inside you will reflect in your behavior in one or the other way. You will either avoid the person or have a strained relationship with that person. It is better to speak up and clear the matter across the table, than to put it under the carpet and carry the pain associated with it forever. Communicate clearly and freely about the matter so that you forgive each other and free yourself from the burden of the event. If forgiving seems next to impossible, then at least let go and move ahead.
It reminds me of a story about the “Frog and the boiling water”. A frog falls into a pot of water. The temperature begins to rise gradually. The frog feels the heat and wants to come out but does not speak a word and stays on. The temperature rises even more, the frog still bears the heat without any complaint and still stays on. The temperature crosses the boiling point, the frog now wants to jump out. But alas! It has no energy left to jump out and it has to succumb to the intense heat of the boiling water.
Let’s take a lesson from this frog and jump out of the water before it becomes impossible to take action. It is important to stand up for oneself and that too well within time, before people become habituated to pull you down intentionally or unintentionally and you become habituated of living with all the pain and hurt all through your lives.
Hope you benefit from the tips and be assertive at your workplace, home, friend circle and everywhere. See you on Sunday with another ray of sunshine. Goodbye for now.
By- Dr.Anu ( International life coach, motivational speaker and corporate trainer)