So far we have covered examples of assertive and non -assertive behaviour and tried a few quick techniques, now it is worth looking in more depth at the five stages of being assertive.
Describe the behaviour - we have talked about being honest and clear about our feelings and needs. For example : "When you do this....."
Be very specific about time and actions - not generalised accusations such as :- "You're always busy / angry etc
Express your feelings : "I feel...."
Again it is important to be specific, but without (if possible) becoming emotional. The "I" part of the statement demonstrates that you are taking responsibility for your feelings. Others do not "make you feel..." We all have a choice about how we respond to other people.
Empathise - this ensures you demonstrate that you have heard the other point of view: " I understand why you..."
Remember, this is not about getting your own way. That is aggression, not assertion; you have to show that you have some real understanding of the other person's point of view.
Negotiate the change - you need to know what you are seeking ahead of this : " I want you to...."
Make sure that the changes you are seeking are reasonable, considering the other person's needs as well - see stage 3.
Explain consequences - you must be prepared to carry this out, we are not talking about an empty threat : " If you do (don't) I will...."
It might be helpful to role play some difficult conversations with a friend, starting with easy to handle conversations, working up to more challenging ones. Really important if this is a big step for you.
It is also worth considering the potential shock that this may cause to those close to you, if you have always been very passive and now you are starting to behave in a more assertive way.
Allow others to become accustomed to the new you, if they value your feelings and happiness - they will get there too!
Tomorrow, we will cover learning to say No - often one of the most difficult things for women to say.
(Well in certain situations!)