In this weeks group we were looking at being assertive, and exploring what that means for people and how they manage it. Group members all had a similar understanding that being assertive was standing up for yourself and getting your needs met in a way that is purposeful and clear; to ask respectfully in a way which gains respect and is not blaming of the other. People saw that it was right to express what is important to them, believing that the attitude of assertion should be confident not arrogant, responding out of who we are, holding our values and congruence and not reacting to the way another person might be, or how we imagine they might be. People also considered that in asking for what we want we should not be aggressive and sometimes we just have to pick the right time.
We asked people how confident they felt about being assertive, some people had grown in understanding of that it was important to say what you needed and others felt that as time had gone on they felt less confident to assert. Others were in quite an active realisation that it’s more constructive to confront situations instead of running away.
One group member commented that being able to assert yourself is directly connected to how much you value yourself, if you are kind and compassionate to yourself and feel worthy of getting what you need this may help build confidence to ask for it. We also discussed the different processes involved in being assertive. We were mindful that while learning to be assertive it’s important that we do not simply go from one extreme to the other. If you can imagine having three states of being on a pendulum; passive, assertive and aggressive we want to be somewhere in the middle and not simply go from passive to aggressive missing out on assertiveness. Like any type of learning the hope is that through practice and courage you will be able to achieve the correct balance in learning to be assertive.
Below is ‘Everyone’s Bill of Rights’ used during the session;
To be treated with respect as a capable and equal human being
To have and express your own feelings, values and opinions without having to justify or make apologies
To be listened to, and taken seriously
To set your own priorities and state your own needs and to be yourself; not necessarily what other people expect or want you to be
To say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for yourself without feeling guilty or selfish
To have the right to make mistakes and to change your mind sometimes
To ask for what you want while accepting that asking does not always mean getting
To say ‘I don’t understand’
To choose not to assert yourself