Before I write this post, let me preface it with the saying “choose your battle”. It’s evident by now, that we can’t fight every fight, and certain things we have to well, let slide. The key here is to decipher what to let slide, and what to speak up on. My Pastor said something a few years ago that has really stuck with me. He said “you can be offended, and NOT take offense.”
Being assertive has been an ongoing lesson, and have gotten much better than let’s say a few years ago. I’ve gotten into my fair share of hot topics with friends that could have certainly turned sour but didn’t. Here’s what helps me:
- Consider your tone of voice- You can say the nicest thing to someone but if your tone is negative, it won’t be received well.
- Body language- In psychotherapy lingo- we call this congruency. Letting your words and actions match. If you’re mad say so. Don’t say you’re not upset, but your body language say otherwise.
- Assume responsibility for your feelings, and never, I repeat NEVER project blame on the other person, even if they are to be blamed. If you’re thinking, if they should be blamed then why can’t I blame them? LOL Well, when someone blames you for something, the most natural reaction is to be defensive. Being defensive could lead to an argument; and we don’t want that. Using “I statements” help you assert your feelings, thoughts and beliefs without blaming. Here’s what I mean..
A: “You’re never there for me when I need you”
B: “Are you serious? I’m never there for you? Wasn’t I there for you when……”
A: “I’m happy you have this new job, but I feel like I haven’t seen you in a while and it feels like I don’t have a best friend anymore.”
B: “I know; things have been so crazy, but maybe we can hangout on Friday to catch up?”
I totally just made up that transcript, but you get where I am going with this. Try it next time, and let me know how it works for you.
Share with me in the comments how you assert yourself without coming off mean, and or rude. Some situations are a lot easier to assert yourself than others, so this is a work in progress for me as well. I find taking responsibility for my feelings help me to get my message across.
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