Being assertive means we’re able to say what we want or need, without allowing others to dictate their needs over ours. When we can communicate in an open way, we are being assertive.
It is important though that we never allow judgments that are not our own to become more important than our own thinking. As children, we often have very little choice over the choices our parents make, without giving a thought as to whether those choices are right for us.
I was a child who aimed to please, so my parents automatically assumed I would fall into line with their decisions, which made their parenting of me a lot easier. But in doing so, I denied myself a voice that would allow others to know my thoughts and opinions, which would have formed part of my personal growth.
As we continue to please, we eventually come to realise that pleasing others can’t please us. When we consciously make those connections and come to understand why pleasing others doesn’t help us, we open ourselves up to change.
Of course, when we eventually stop pleasing, it won’t always meet with another person’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’s;
- We must voice our own opinions and say what we feel 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’re entitled to have our own thoughts and opinions;
- We have a right to say no if what we’re being asked isn’t what we want to do;
- We shouldn’t have to seek approval of others in order to live our lives;
- Others will always have their opinions, but it’s up to us to have our own opinion and not allow others to dictate the way they see us.
We have a right to be assertive, in the same way others have a right to be assertive for themselves.