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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Part 2 of 3 = Adjusting your Mindset

1.Be honest with yourself about what you want. Acting confidently won’t do you any good if you can never make up your mind or are trying too hard to “go with the flow.” People can tell if you already know what you want out of them, and it's much easier for them to do what you ask them if you can tell them clearly what that is.
  • Being too accommodating can actually make things harder for people. Whether you're speaking to an insurance agent or a waiter, their job is to serve you and you'll make their job about ten times easier if you know what you want.
  • Off-loading decision-making onto everyone else is a passive-aggressive way of shirking your responsibility – and placing the consequences squarely on someone else’s shoulders. (To say nothing of the fact that it’s just plain annoying.) The next time your friends ask you where you want to go to dinner, don’t respond with, “Oh, wherever”; give them a concrete answer.
2.Set firm boundaries for yourself. This is key for going into any kind of conversation where you want to discuss your needs. If you're talking to your boss, have a boundary of not working on the weekends or not working overtime without three days notice; if you're talking to a friend, have a boundary of not picking her up at the airport again until she picks you up when you need a ride; if you're talking to your boyfriend, be determined not to just hang out with his friends until he makes an effort to hang out with your friends.
  • Having your boundaries at the forefront of your mind before a conversation will keep you from getting derailed and compromising your needs in the middle of a conversation because it's easier or just helps you avoid conflict.
3.Don't expect people to read your mind. This is a classic mistake of passive people. You may think that your boss knows you want a raise, that your boyfriend knows you think he spends too much time with his friends, or that your mom knows she calls you too much at inconvenient times but ignores that anyway. Unfortunately, more likely than not, people have no idea what makes you upset or what you really want from them. So, don't use the fact that they already know what you want as an excuse that keeps you from having an uncomfortable conversation that may get you the results you want.
  • Think about it: if your boss really knew you wanted a raise and hasn't mentioned anything, isn't it time to speak up?
  • Consider the people around you. You may know a few people really well, but can you say with confidence that you really know what they want?
4.Take responsibility for your own problems. This is a key step to assertiveness. Passive people often think that their unhappiness at work, at home, or in social situations isn't really their fault and that there's nothing they can do to change things. This is absolutely false. Though you won't be able to change the dynamics of a situation completely with one conversation, you can certainly get the ball rolling by having a conversation that makes your desires known.
  • If you wait around for the world to change, like the John Mayer song, you may just be waiting forever. Nothing good will happen until you take initiative.
  • Some of this may come out of fear about what will happen if you do get what you want. Maybe you're afraid of what will happen if you do get that promotion, or if you do finally talk to your girlfriend about moving in together.
5.Stop trying to please everybody. This may be one of the reasons why you're so afraid to assert yourself. You must be telling yourself that life would be easier if your wife, kids, boss, coworkers, neighbors, and everyone around you was happy. However, this is just a cop-out, a convenient excuse for you not to express yourself. Sure, nobody wants conflict, but a little bit of conflict is better than a lot of passive aggressiveness, frustrations, and ignored wishes.[1]
  • Sure, your neighbor won't love it if you ask him to stop throwing loud parties. But if you're reasonable, he will understand, or at least he'll try to keep it down the next time he invites people over. Put your desires above your neighbor's -- your need to get a good night's sleep should be more important than avoiding conflict with your neighbor.
  • This doesn't mean you should make a goal of having unpleasant, uncomfortable conversations with people every chance you get. But you should make a general rule of focusing on what you want instead of what other people want all the time.
6.Talk to others about what you want to gain confidence. This will help you get some perspective about what you want to say to the people you have to say it to. If you think your boss, friend, boyfriend, or whoever is taking advantage of you, talk to a close friend about it first. Tell your side of the story and you'll gain support and will see that you're not having irrational thoughts and feelings. This will give you more confidence to actually say something.[2]
  • It's important to talk about your feelings, but don't let it turn into a complaining fest. Just because you've gotten your frustrations off your chest by talking to a close friend doesn't mean that you've actually done anything about the problem until you've had a conversation with the person you need to talk to.
7.Stop feeling guilty about not giving people what they want. Guilt is another motivating factor that may keep you from having a meaningful conversation about what you want. You may feel guilty for talking to your messy roommate about cleaning up her space or about talking to a coworker about his negligence on the job, but these conversations are necessary and need to happen. A little bit of guilt will be worth the satisfaction of actually getting what you want.[3]
  • Some people will even use guilt as a tool to keep you from sticking to your side of the argument. Don't let them do this.
8.Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Like anything else in life, being assertive is about balance. If the waiter made a mistake and brought you something you're allergic to, speak up – and keep at it until the problem is corrected. But if a cashier growls at you, it's not your job to educate them on manners and customer service, so let it go. It's important to get what you deserve in life, but it's just as important to understand what it is that you deserve in the first place!


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