Giving yourself permission to behave assertively.
No doubt there have been times in your life when you’ve been uncertain, about whether what you want to do is “right”? You may well have had conversations with yourself that asked, “Have I the right to say this? Do I have permission to do this? Am I justified in asking for this? Equally at times you may have thought, “This person has no right to do that or treat me in this way!” This thinking can prevent you behaving assertively in situations where you/others actually do have the right.
‘Rights’ are central to behaving assertively A Right is something to which you are justly entitled. When you act upon these rights but do not give the same rights to others, your behaviour becomes aggressive. When you give others rights that you do not also claim for yourself, your behaviour becomes submissive or non-assertive. When you accept rights for yourself and also give them to others, your behaviour is likely to be in balance, assertive and in the spirit of win- win. The balancing of Rights provides internal permission and affirmation to behave in an assertive way.
It is important to know: Which are the rights you currently accept for yourself and act upon? Which are the rights you give to others and allow them to act upon? Doing the exercise below may give you an indication of how assertive you are and in what areas you need to further develop.
Tick the ones you ‘give yourself and the ones you give others.
- I have the right to say yes or no, without feeling guilty
- I have the right to state my own needs and set my own priorities
- I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being
- I have the right to have and express my own feelings and opinions even if they are different from those of others
- I have the right to be listened to and taken seriously
- I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them
- I have the right to change my mind without making excuses
- I have the right to say ‘I don’t understand’ I have the right to say “I don’t know”
- I have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval
- I have the right to present myself to the world as I am, without making excuses
- I have the right to ask for support from others
When you reflect on past situations that haven’t worked out the way you wanted, you’ll probably find that this exercise provides you with clues as to why they didn’t. Rights are one of the fundamental building blocks of your personal power base. Remember nobody can take your dignity or your rights away unless you give them away.
Giving yourself permission to behave assertively may be your first step on your journey to achieving the things you want in your life.