How to Be Assertive

How to Be Assertive

When in relationship, as in life, our thoughts, feelings and behaviours become habits. Getting what you want could thereby follow those old well-worn habits, sometimes successfully and sometimes not.

If not, you could use this to inspire and even change the way you express your thoughts and feelings.

You can become more assertive by following a formula when expressing what you like and what you want to change, according to who it is being directed at and how it will be received.

How to Be Assertive

Here’s the formula I use and teach my clients:

“I feel…” (Here, simply name the feeling or feelings)

“…when…” (Describe the situation that creates the feeling, but try to neutralize it so it doesn’t sound like blaming. However, if there’s no way around that, you may have to begin with “When you…”)

“…because…,” (Say what happens to you personally, or to you as a couple or a family, or as a workplace or a community)

Examples

For example, if when coming home from work, your husband every now and then buys you your favourite chocolates or candy, however, he doesn’t like them and never has any. He knows how much you love it though and does it in order to make you happy.

You can use the formula by telling him how happy it makes you feel that he thought of you and that you’re feeling cherished and loved by gestures such as this. Saying “Thank you” could be enough to say, but by addressing your appreciation to the person directly and explaining how it left you feeling will make him feel good and he will probably want to feel good more often.

On the other hand, there are the things that you might want him to change. You can use the same formula in order to explain yourself and your feelings without blaming your partner.

For example, your partner is always late meeting you no matter what the situation or the place is. For him this is something minor and he probably doesn’t even realize it. For you though, other than being annoyed, also feel disrespected.

When he arrives at the meeting you can always say that he is irresponsible and he doesn’t respect you, and that he is being a jerk for not being on time for the meeting he made with you. Or you can kiss him when you meet him and then tell him clearly how his lateness really leaves you feeling; like he is not respecting his time with you, as well as you personally, and time is spent waiting for him rather than is doing something more productive.

In the first scenario, if you create a drama because of the delay, you could destroy the intent of the meeting and leave both of you feeling angry. This could escalate the encounter into a 2nd or 3rd degree game.

The second approach shows that you care for your partner and his time, and you think of his wellbeing as well as your own. You show your respect and your want to fix the problem in such way so both of you are satisfied with all needs fulfilled.

This formula takes some practice to get it so practice it with each other when you are feeling ok and practice using it for things you’d like to change as well as for things that you’d like to express a gratitude for.

Let me know how you go by sharing a comment in the space below.

To the wonder of you,

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