How to be Assertive

“If you haven’t the strength to impose your terms upon life, you must accept the terms it offers you.” – T.S. Eliot

Unfortunately, we are a society that devalues the expression of emotion, particularly negative emotion.

However, to devalue the expression of emotion also teaches and engrains within us the belief that negative emotions should be shut away, cut off, stuffed down and hidden away. Feelings are not to be spoken of and to express negative feelings and thoughts is taboo because it “looks bad.”

While we shouldn’t be walking around spilling and expressing negative emotion all of the time, it is important to recognize that without acknowledging negative feelings, we remain stuck and unable to move forward.

When there is something that is upsetting you, do you keep your mouth shut because you do not want to anger the other person? Do you bite your tongue because you do not want to be judged or criticized further?

There is a time and place where expressing emotion, even if it is negative, is imperative for our emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.

If we are being mistreated or disrespected, we have the right to not allow ourselves to be subjected to that. We have the right to walk away, to inform and to confront whoever is disrespecting us.

What happens if we do not allow our voice to be heard and we continually stuff down feelings of anger, resentment, and hurt feelings?

Those very feelings become stuck within us, popping up as unconscious rage, irritability, emotional numbness, self sabotage / punishment through compulsive behavior.

When we honor our feelings we honor ourselves, and we respect ourselves by speaking up for what it is that we feel, even if it is negative.

We are conditioned to believe that anger is bad and expressing it is bad. Anger has a positive benefit in that it propels us to speak out about the things we believe in, energizing us to defend our right to be respected.

When we allow others to step on us or mistreat us, we have the right to speak out about that.

Allowing someone to treat you poorly and to continually disrespect you not only derails your self-esteem, but allowing that behavior reinforces that behavior again and again. It literally says to the other person, “I am allowing your behavior and you can do it again!”

To speak up and to speak out about your feelings, particularly how someone makes you feel when they do something that upsets you communicates to the world that you are valuable and deserve to be treated with value.

It also sets the stage for healthier communication as you are able to express your feelings more authentically and honestly.

To be authentic with yourself and the world is to be honest about your feelings instead of suffocating them and denying them.

Do you allow fear of judgment, abandonment or fear of the other person to get in the way of voicing your feelings?

Perhaps it is time to set aside your fear and to honor yourself and your feelings. You not only become someone who demands respect, but those who deserve respect must demand it.

We all deserve to be treated well, but if we allow others to disrespect us, we are really disrespecting ourselves by allowing and thus reinforcing that mistreatment. You have the choice.

Honor your feelings, your gut instinct, stand up for what you feel because you deserve it.

To believe otherwise is to live in fear.

Why live in fear if what you deserve is love?

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