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Assertiveness

Many people struggle with assertiveness and it is sometimes confused with aggressiveness. Healthy relationships require assertiveness skills. There are many irrational beliefs associated with assertiveness. This is a list of common irrational beliefs and their more rational counterparts.

    1. If I assert myself, others will get mad at me.

    • If I assert myself, the effects may be positive, neutral or negative. I have the legitimate right to be assertive. If I assert myself, people may or may not get mad at me. They may feel closer to me, like what I say or do, or help me to solve the problem. I can't expect people to read my mind.

    2. If I assert myself and people do become angry with me, I will be devastated. It will be awful.

    • Even if others do become angry and unpleasant, I can handle it without falling apart. I don't have to feel responsible for the other person's anger. It may be his or her problem.

    3. Although I prefer others to be straightforward with me, I'm afraid that if I am open with others and say “no”, I will hurt them.

    • If I'm assertive, other people may or may not feel hurt. If I prefer to be dealt with directly, quite likely others will too.

    4. If my assertion hurts others, I am responsible for their feelings.

    • Even if others do feel hurt by my assertive behavior, I can let them know I care for them while also being direct about what I need or want. Most people are not so vulnerable and fragile that they will be shattered by my assertive behavior.

    5. It is wrong and selfish to turn down legitimate requests. Others will think I'm terrible and won't like me.

    • Even legitimate requests can be refused assertively. It is acceptable to consider my own needs, sometimes before those of others. I can't please everyone all of the time.

    6. I must avoid making statements and asking questions that might make me look ignorant or stupid.

    • It's okay to lack information or make a mistake. I'm human.

    7. Assertive women are cold, castrating bitches that others don't like.

    • Assertive women are direct and honest, and behave appropriately. They show a genuine concern for other people's rights and feelings as well as their own. Their assertiveness enriches their relationships with others.
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