This post sums up my more positive results from my attempts at being more assertive!
Not feeling so taken advantage of/resentful and getting things done
I’ve had some satisfying moments, for example: 1. I got a large reduction of my garage bill after I mentioned that it had taken a lot less time then they’d predicted and that they seemed to have passed my phone number onto personal injury companies. 2. I managed to avoid what would have been an immense pain flare-up after persuading the pier tram driver that she needed to keep running the tram until the usual time and not pack up early because only two of us wanted to take the tram back. 3. I got some repairs done in my rented accommodation. Being more assertive can definitely be useful and show some results.
Feeling strong and alive
It can be really satisfying to be polite, direct and assertive and get a deserved result. Physically I am no longer strong at all, but being more assertive gave me a feeling of psychological strength that was very satisfying.
Improvements at work
My previous employer was always keen for me to be more assertive and I learnt a lot in that job about expressing myself in a more assertive way. Learning direct and polite assertiveness can be a huge asset in almost any job. It’s also definitely useful at times when dealing with the bureaucracy that disabled people often face, though you also have to be careful when dealing with staff who clearly get a kick out of wielding their powers.
I strongly feel that being able to assert yourself appropriately is very important in a relationship. If you can’t raise and discuss your needs and wishes, they will become repressed and you may become passive-aggressive or just fed up with the relationship. I prefer a partner who can also say no when I’m being unreasonable – deep down I don’t think any of us wants a completely passive partner who will efface themselves in a quest to constantly please us. That said, it’s a fine balance and pitfalls such as becoming too fussy are worth looking out for (I’m definitely prone to that!).
I was surprised at how complicated being more assertive turned out to be. I hadn’t realised that you really need a good relationship as well with friendliness and charm. I think it’s a skill I’ll be working on all my life. My goals going forward with assertiveness are:
- To continue being assertive with service providers but while remaining polite, not grumpy, and trying to consider the pressures they may be under, and also the limits on my time for prolonged disputes;
- To try to raise issues with those I live with sooner rather than later, before resentment builds up (also the landlord), and using polite, carefully considered language;
- To try to avoid being instantly defensive when someone is assertive with me;
- To avoid friendly disputes unless I know that the friend is comfortable with it.
What about you? What are your experiences with assertiveness and plans for the future?