Your Right to Be Assertive

By Jeanie Marshall

The first step in any effort to be more assertive is an inner step -- recognizing your own needs and desires. This is obvious when stated, but often overlooked in real life. Getting in the habit of checking, really checking, your honest thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs is essential in effective assertive behavior. It is very easy to get in the habit of acting today as you acted on previous occasions, yet you might choose a different action if you ask yourself, What do I really want right now? If you can be honest with yourself, you are ready to be honest with others.

To be actively assertive, you must make a clear and direct statement of your needs or desires or anything beyond what feels safe. A clear and direct statement that opens a conversation is enough. Assertiveness requires interaction with others; it is not simply a monologue of demands. Your initial statement, and all the statements that make up a conversation, need to be honest, direct, and straightforward.

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