Assertiveness is a way to find your voice and express yourself also inside a team.
Over time I’ve collected these descriptions of what it means to be assertive, and I’d like to share them with you.
Being assertive means that everyone, regardless of gender, race or religious affiliation, is entitled to all these things in the list.
- The right to express oneself with dignity and respect.
Since everybody is unique in his/her views, intentions and actions, it is not necessary to match the views and intentions of other people. Assertiveness requires a human being to accept his/her own thoughts and behaviour, although they may differ from those of the others.
- The right to feel and express one’s feelings.
This is applied especially to negative emotions. Suppressing of anger, frustration and resentment would lead to a feeling of guilt. Maintaining a good relationship with other people is not intended to hide the negative sentiments against them. Rather, it is necessary to share and discuss them, in order not to become the basis of hidden hostility that could gradually destroy the trust and connection between people.
- The right to feel good about oneself.
Many people experience difficulties in applying this rule to themselves as they consider it an act of selfishness. This behaviour can be promoted by accepted patterns of behaviour and norms in society.
- The right to be treated with respect.
Such treatment should be required not only from family and friends but also by all the people with whom we come into social contacts. The emphasis here is on accepting the others as equal and worthy individuals.
- The right to ask for whatever one wishes.
Nobody could guess what exactly the person next to them would need, that is why one ought to speak of his needs, without embarrassment or fear that he/she would be convicted or accused, nor that his/her actions would be seen as bold.
- The right to ask for information.
One could not be well informed on all issues, so, especially when he/she should make an important decision in his/her life he/she needs to seek further information. She/he should not be afraid that she/he may be referred to with condescension, contempt and disrespect. The questions one asks should be accepted not as a personal limitation.
- The right to take the necessary time to think and ponder decisions.
Hasty decision-making and automatism of response are not appropriate for a variety of situations in personal and professional aspects. In order to be effective and flexible in his/her activities and relationships, one ought to be able to consider (in advance or later on) his actions and motives for them.
- The right to do less than what one could do if he or she was using all his/her reserves.
One ought to decide which activities are more and which are less important for him/her and therefore spread his/her efforts accordingly. It is not necessary to continuously reach the maximum of own physical and mental potential and use all own reserves.
- The right to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty or having to explain oneself.
All human beings are limited in their time, energy, and means so that they alone should decide how to allocate these resources, primarily taking into consideration their needs and desires. Neglecting personal needs at the expense of the needs of others would lead to reduced quality of life and a sense of personal dissatisfaction. The ability to refuse is not a selfish attitude, but an act of self-respect.
- The right to change own mind.
Life is dynamic and constantly changing. People often receive new information in regards to what has already been decided. The change of decision in such situations, should not be considered as an expression of inconsistency and irresponsibility, but as flexibility of thinking and adaptability.
- The right to make mistakes.
Since there is no human being who has never made mistakes in own life, it is not disturbing if one not always act in the best manner. Very often, the fear of mistakes has discouraged people from taking any action in a particular field, which prevents the accumulation of social and professional experience.
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