Monday 15 August 2011

Are You Appropriately Assertive?

Usually, the root of problems in this area is to do with a powerful reluctance to risk disapproval by others. We worry that to say "no" or assert other rights would be to lose approval. It's based on these false beliefs:

1. The approval of others is paramount

2. The approval of others is driven by your compliance to their wishes

3. Assertiveness is the same as, or as bad as aggressiveness

4. Nice people comply - non-compliers are arrogant or trouble-makers or something else undesirable

- and underlying all of these is a negative belief about your self-worth.

Clearly, in a work setting, we have to do what we're paid to do or risk dismissal, but there are ways to avoid being a doormat too.

As you continue to comply with the wishes of others, denying your own, you find you cannot control your life - you've given that control to others. In addition, self esteem is eroded away each time you recognise what's happening - so it's a doubly whammy and a trap.

The way out is to look very closely at the beliefs under-pinning the behaviours, and to dissolve them in a variety of ways, and this is the work I do with those clients who struggle with assertiveness.

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