Say No – Being Assertive
“No”, sometimes saying this small but very powerful word becomes so complicated. Looks like a simple thing but this one word and it’s power can change your whole world.
The Indian social psyche is such that we are conditioned to listen and be obedient from the day we are born. Not to think logically but to just say “Yes”.
Why? So that we do not displease the parents, the elders, the spouse, the in laws, the boss, the child, the peers, the so called friends and the list is endless . It’s no longer an expectation but a pre- requisite for avoiding any kind of turmoil in the smooth and eventless ocean called life.
There are many examples-
Your boss knows you are going on leave the next day but decides to overload you with work the very last minute.
You are in the middle of a very important cooking or housework task and your child throws a tantrum demanding a certain toy or junk food to be bought
Your parents presurrising you to marry a girl or boy who you do not share any mental connect with
A colleague or a neighbour keeps asking for favours but is unavailable when you need assistance
Your in laws want you to visit a relative whom you cannot see eye to eye and everyone including that relative is aware
Your spouse calls guests suddenly and you are not prepared
Your colleague or senior ditches you and calls in sick on the day of a career changing presentation
How many times have you not given in to any of the above situations?
9 out of 10 times the answer is yes you have not been able to voice your opinion and have had to say a yes instead of a no.
Here comes in the assertiveness. Assertiveness is voicing your opinion while not hurting the feelings of others but in certain situations it might not be in agreement with the other party so feelings will still be hurt but compromising on life changing and highly impactful decisions is not an option you should be taking because being passive makes one resentful and half baked dreams will lead to frustration and even depression.
Again assertiveness should not be confused with aggressiveness. It’s knowing what one wants and expressing it very clearly and providing the reasoning for it. Many a times assertiveness can amicably help resolve a situation. Being taken for granted can lead to low self-esteem and affect relations and professional performance.
Being able to hold your own gains you respect and sets boundaries.
Children don’t always like to be kissed and hugged by elders so they are allowed to say no you can always ask the guests to refrain and encourage the kids to be vocal about it. This will boost their confidence and help them formulate their opinions about things. They can express fearlessly and also help you help them in shaping and forming a strong foundation for their future and their personality.
Being Nice is not always a boon you need to draw a line between greedy and needy. You need to ascertain the genuineness of the situation or person wanting the help.
If someone comes in late everyday just because he is friends with all the colleagues and a very popular person in office does not excuse them from the fact that they can do it forever and others get reprimanded for the very same reason. You should discuss it with your subordinate and that the rules are set very clearly and equally for all. Setting expectations along with boundaries is a way of expressing assertiveness.
Telling the boss very politely that you need to catch an early flight for your sanctioned leave the next morning so they could hand over some of the work to another capable colleague or subordinate is excercising your assertiveness
A child who is very short and is teased near the school locker by some peers and he retorts back by saying that being short has many advantages that tall people would not know it and then walking away is a way of exercising assertiveness.
Telling your spouse to order take out as you are dead tired after office and housework for yourselves or for some random unplanned guests is being assertive.
Saying no to marry as you are not ready is excercising your independent adult choice and showing assertiveness.
If someone is pushy about asking you to do something especially a close relative or a close friend you repeatedly express your assertiveness by asking them to do it themselves, repeating the same response will 99 out of the 100 times send your signals of disapproval to the person.
Children saying no to an adult for a hug or sitting close to them is their way of being assertive. They choose whom they are comfortable with.
Being assertive will help you see things in the right perspective, let others see your true self and will automatically project your set boundaries and dislikes and your opinions and lifestyle choices to the others around you and that will set the expectations right.
Being quite is not always right. You need to speak up, be assertive and do what gives you peace. Sitting on the fence is not going to work, escapism is not a healthy choice. Be assertive. Know when to hold your silence and when to speak up. Don’t keep waiting, the right moment will never come. You either stand up for yourself or fall under and get used to being dictated in all situations.
Assertiveness helps you understand yourself and helps others understand you and to remove any doubts and false expectations. Build respect of opinion and healthy relations professionally and personally.
Be assertive and be at peace.
“Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring others feelings. It means that you are willing to hold up for yourself fairly-without attacking
others.”- Albert Ellis.
(Albert Ellis was a famous American psychologist who in 1955 developed rational emotive behavior therapy and author of many books dealing with behavioural subjects one of them being assertiveness.)