Friday, October 22, 2010
Tips for asserting your rights
By: Marissa Anteby
Do you sometimes find it difficult to articulate your thoughts? Are you prone to bouts of waffling, when it comes to addressing what's important to you? Maybe you worry that you'll come off seeming egotistical or rude. Actually, expressing your true feelings is quite the opposite of being selfish or crass, if done in a manner that's considerate of others. Verbalizing your distinct likes and dislikes, asking for clarifications, openly disagreeing, and saying "No," are all acceptable forms of assertive communication. It is your legitimate right to be audible about your personal perceptions and opinions. Your convictions are no less valid than those of the people around you. In fact, if the situation warrants, it's perfectly justifiable to put yourself first, change your mind, negotiate terms, point out unfair treatment, and ask for emotional support. It also makes it easier for anyone interacting with you, to hear exactly what you are thinking, instead of them having to guess.
Since you are the only one who truly knows your particular comfort level in interpersonal situations, only you are qualified to advocate for yourself, while avoiding over-compensating with hostile behavior, or under-efforting in passivity. When you remain neutral, clearly stating your needs and wants, you encounter more successful scenarios and less hesitation or bullying. There is no necessity to make demands, complain, calculate, manipulate, or conversely; kowtow, because even if you're programmed to be a people pleaser, honest directives work better than whatever it is you think people want you to be saying.
Here are some guidelines to help streamline your talking points:
- Speak truthfully, choosing your words wisely, forming a clear message, without attacking anyone or anything.
- When you're in charge, convey your confidence with pride, without bragging.
- Stick to pertinent topic-specific information, without over-generalizing or grouping people or occurrences together.
- Provide a few detailed reasons, without merely restating the original facts.
- Ask relevant questions courteously, without predicting the answers.
- Handle misunderstandings or problems with kindness, without haste, so ill-will doesn't build up.
- Let unimportant feedback slide, without taking non-essential comments to heart.
- Be open minded, without forestalling alternate options and continued discussion.
- Don't assume something is correct because it's a popular opinion, without investigating it further, regardless if it has been adopted as gospel by authorities, or has yet to be proven false.
- When you make a mistake, apologize without hesitation, acknowledging your part and promoting open communication.
Lay claim to your values by concisely identifying your position, free from blame and resentment. By directly acting in your own best interest, you will smoothly achieve win-win situations where not only you get what you want when you want it, but more people do, too. Remember that being good to yourself and others is a balancing act, one that is respected and appreciated when it involves sincere dialogue that is not timid or aggressive.