Positive Assertiveness

The journey continues, searching for the ever-elusive ‘wellbeing’, be it at work or in our personal lives. Another slice of personal wellness is being able to ‘positively assert’ one’s self. Late last year I attended a mini workshop on Positive Assertiveness and I’m going to let you in on a few behavioural changes that we need to make in order to lead more fulfilling lives. (Not that our families don’t already fulfil and complete us, obviously 😉 )


To start we need to stop blaming others for how we feel. Personally, I find that difficult; my mood is frequently affected by my interactions with others. I am often the culprit of a bad mood ripple effect. I take a ‘miffed’ feeling home and the miffness spreads. Also we can’t just walk around like aloof zombies, not taking any cognisance of people, their behaviour and their relations with us. In either a workplace or personal situation, we are very often ‘bullied’ and we don’t realise it and we don’t do anything about it. A co-worker, friend or even partner is much more confident and assertive, so our thoughts, ideas and needs are over-looked and made unimportant. So, what do we do… we need to ensure our voice is being heard and our needs are being addressed. The key to positive assertiveness is self-respect, putting your feelings and needs on the table, and to stop being apologetic and self-depreciating. It has to begin with you.

The behaviour pattern of the ‘offending party’, for lack of a better term, is most likely habitual. This pattern needs to be identified, so that the ‘confrontation’ can be planned. Summon up the strength words you will need to stand up for yourself. I’m talking one of those pump yourself up in front of the mirror pep talks. (I’ll post a few at the end… just for ideas)

Emotions need to be kept in check, a situation shouldn’t be tackled when you’re emotional. Again, planning the confrontation will mean you have a better chance of remaining in control and as calm as possible.

Your approach needs to be;

  • Direct
  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Appropriate

Choose assertive words and make sure you are the priority by using “I”, and where possible add details. (Ladies you know how we remember E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G)

Eg 1. It’s Friday night and the family wants to get take-away, we always go for fried chicken, but I’ve been craving a pizza. (I know you’re thinking let’s just get separate things for each person, but life will not tailor make itself to give us what we each want). So what do I do? Put my needs and feelings on the table. “Hey guys can we get something different tonight? We’ve gotten fried chicken for 4 weeks in a row. How about a pizza tonight, I’ve been really craving one!”

I know this is almost a silly example, but do you get what I’m saying? If we leave so many things unsaid it starts to eat away at us and break us down. From a more assertive partner to an arrogant co-worker. They all need to know that we are important and we need to (and will) be heard.

Eg 2. I’ve been asked to compile a report for a meeting…in an hour. This sort of work takes at least a full day, and this isn’t the first time. A possible way to respond – “There really isn’t enough time to complete this report. In future tasks such as this need to be given to me at least a day before, so I have adequate time to put forward a report that is of a standard we are both happy with”.

Additional Tips

Body Language – Try maintaining eye contact, like staring into the eye of (someone you want to stand up to…), maintain a firm and confident posture and tone.

Practice – This behaviour needs to be practiced until it becomes a habit. Your first few attempts might still be overlooked, but in time, you will succeed

Consequences – If there is an “or else” at the end of your assertive confrontation, follow through with it.

Journaling – Keep tabs of incidents, your reaction and the outcomes, whether it was negative or positive

There’s so much more to it than just what I’ve said, so if you feel like you need to bolster up your assertiveness, I suggest attending one of these little crash courses. I attended via our work ‘Gender Forum’ programme, and BYTES SOLUTIONS ran the course, if I remember correctly. (They do not sponsor this post in any way).

Good Luck on your journey to owning 2018. You have a voice you have feelings and you have needs. You deserve to be heard you deserve validation YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Was this post useful? Did it even make sense? Did I just write absolute garbage? Okay I need to work on that self-esteem again…

Here’s one of the positive affirmation vids I mentioned #CutenessOverload #Affirmation #GirlPower





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