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Claiming your rights to be assertive.
Claiming your rights to be assertive.

I used to have a tendency to be passive as a leader. I just didn’t know it until I researched what it means to be assertive. After learning that I was taking too much responsibility for the feelings of others, I was able to learn about my rights to be assertive in relationships and the result was astounding in terms of energy savings. Only then did I have the energy to devote to my own work and life. 

We all have the right to be assertive in our interactions with others. But how do we know when we’re not being assertive? 

Clues that you are not being assertive.

  • You complain a lot.
  • You waste energy trying to convince. 
  • You spend too much effort explaining yourself.
  • You give up your own desires and let others win.
  • You feel tired and exhausted. 
  • Others don’t listen to you anymore.
  • The feelings of others feel heavy to you.
  • You feel guilty when you speak your mind. 
  • You never get around to taking care of yourself.
  • You write long emails or texts to others.
  • You fear disappointing others.
  • You fear losing relationships.
  • You do most of the work in relationships.
  • You give up and let others have their way.

The list goes on. In short, you are giving too much. Taking more than your share of responsibility in relationships to keep others happy. You eventually feel like you are losing yourself. And thus, are losing your own passion, drive and initiative. 

What to do?

The first step is to realize it, by taking the inventory above and being honest with yourself. The second is to take responsibility for it. You are showing up with others in a way that tells them they are perfectly within their rights to take advantage of you. Looking inside yourself to self-esteem is the answer. You are not placing enough value on yourself, your time, energy and desires. And here’s the rub. When you do this, others recognise that they can manipulate you into abandoning yourself in favor of their agenda. Eventually you will resent their potentially insatiable demands and at the same time, lose respect for yourself. It can’t last. But what do you do?

Assertiveness rights.

The first time someone suggested I do a search on “assertiveness rights” I was dismayed by the extent of information out there on being assertive. Some of us are simply not born assertive and have to learn how to be this way. That means a re-write is due on the core values that drive your life. As I studied the variety of lists out there, I chose the ones that worked for me and began to alter the expectations I had placed on myself for years. Here are a few of my favorites that I edited for my own purposes:

  1. It’s ok to just say no. (Doesn’t mean be rude, say it kindly). 
  2. If someone can’t take no for an answer, you can get firm. 
  3. You have no obligation to explain why you say “no”. 
  4. It’s ok if some people don’t like your boundaries. 
  5. If you’re in integrity, someone is bound to not like you. It’s ok. 
  6. You have a right to ask for what you want from others. 
  7. They have a right to say no too, so honor it. You’ll get the same in kind.
  8. Using too many words, means you are being passive. 
  9. You don’t owe anyone explanations for your boundaries and decisions.
  10.  You don’t have to feel guilty for not doing what someone else wants. 

There are so many more. Go look them up and adopt the ones that you need most. Pick one at a time and practice it for a week. You will be dismayed at the changes that unfold in your emotional well-being in the very first week. 

I’m still working on it. Writing this blog reminded me of the trap I can get into so easily. But at least I know how to course-correct quickly now. 

I’m using too many words right now. So I’m going to sign off!