Being assertive means we’re able to say what we want or need, without allowing anyone else to dictate what they want or need over what we want. When we can communicate in an appropriate, but open way, we are being assertive.
It’s important that we never allow judgments that are not our own to become more important than our own thinking. As children, we often have little choice over our parents’ choices, without so much of a thought as to whether those choices are right for us.
As a pleasing child, my parents assumed I would fall into line with their wishes, which made their parenting of me a lot easier. But in doing so, I denied myself a voice that would have allowed others to know my thoughts and opinions, which should have formed part of my own personal growth.
Sadly, as we continue to please, we eventually come to realise that pleasing others, can’t please us. When we consciously begin to make those connections and understand why being pleasing doesn’t always help us, we potentially open ourselves up to change.
When we eventually stop pleasing, it won’t always meet with other people’s approval. But that’s fine, it’s not meant to.
The following suggestions may be useful:
- We have the right to express our feelings on what we want, even if those feelings don’t tie in with someone else;
- It’s important to voice our own opinions and to speak out when we need to;
- It’s important for us to make our own mistakes; we need to be allowed to make them;
- We all have a right to say no to taking on responsibility for someone else, if that someone else is capable of being responsible for themselves;
- We are entitled to have our own thoughts and opinions;
- We have a right to say no if we don’t want to do what is being asked of us;
- We shouldn’t have to seek approval of others to be able to live our lives.
Others will always have their opinions, but it’s up to us to have an opinion for ourselves and not allow others to dictate the way they see us.
We have a right to be assertive for ourselves, in the same way others have a right to be assertive for themselves.