Sometimes people think assertiveness means people following you and that your way goes. That, in my opinion, is not assertiveness. It’s knowing what you like and dislike, then allowing or disallowing people to treat you in a certain way.
I want to challenge you to go stand in the mirror after a long day and ask, “Did I put you first?”
That’s a difficult question to ask because we’ve grown up being taught that selfishness is bad, but I think there is a difference between selfishness and self-respect.
Selfishness is “everything is about me and you must do everything to my command.”
Self-respect is saying “I’m happy to help you but I also have needs that I need to express and as much as I want to help you, I need that in return.”
So let’s look at a couple of strategies to work on this week to help you increase your assertiveness.
- Look in the mirror and say, “you are number 1 today.” Even if it’s just for a day, make a few selfish decisions. It is so important to look after yourself because you can’t help anybody if you can’t help yourself.
- Say No. As much as it’s difficult, say it. For example someone at work asks you to review a presentation. All you’re going to say is, “Peter, I appreciate the urgency but currently I do not have the capacity. Please come and ask me next week.” That’s not exactly a no but you are managing that person’s expectations.
- Reflect on where you were putting yourself second and other people first because that’s going to tell how much self-respect you have. For example, if you gave up your seat without the need to.
If you find that your self-respect is low, don’t worry because self-respect is something you can grow and groom.
Keep on changing the game.
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