Confronting Your Obstacles for Being Assertive
It is quite helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- If I’m assertive in this situation, what is the worst thing that could happen?
- What beliefs do I have that would lend probability to this happening?
- Is there any evidence to support this belief?
- What evidence is there to refute this belief?
- What would be a more realistic negative outcome of my being assertive in this situation?
- How might I respond to or cope with this more realistic negative outcome?
- What is the best thing that could happen?
- What is going to happen if I continue to do what I have been doing?
- Is it worth it to me to be assertive in this situation?
Here is an example of a healthy communication process at work:
- If I tell James I’d rather not spend this year’s vacation at his parents’ house again because I don’t particularly enjoy him mother’s company, he’ll get furious to be angry at me for days.
- He loves his mother more than he loves me.
- James calls his mother every week; he does try to be a good son.
- Now and then he’s told me that his mother gets on his nerves too. And he does love me. He recently told me so and gave me a hug.
- He might be annoyed with me for a little while, and we might have a heated discussion about where to spend our vacation without spending much money.
- I could be prepared with some suggestions for alternatives that might appeal to him: a couple of nights at a bed and breakfast, a camping trip, a visit to friends.
- We could end up having our best vacation ever, somewhere new and exciting.
- We’ll keep spending all our vacations at his parents’ house. Nothing will change unless I take the initiative to break our old routine.