Would you like to be your own assertiveness therapist? Assertive therapy is about letting people feel comfortable saying No to other people and Yes to themselves.
A while ago I came across an old book, Manuel J. Smith’s book on Assertive Therapy. His BILL OF ASSERTIVE RIGHTS captures the essence of his whole theory. It is a famous quote, you can google it up. If you take this alone and make it your own, you will definitely become a more assertive person. How? Easy: turn the “rights” into affirmations and repeat them to yourself in every way possible, or chant them or write them on stickies! This is what I did.
The”Bill” is written in you-form, like “You have the right to X, Y.” I changed it to I-form and created a list of my own affirmations. Feel free to simplify the language or use a different language, one principle a day, 10 days for all, and repeat! It worked wonders for me and I’m sure it will do the same for you! My 10 principles of being an assertive person based on Manuel J. Smith’s Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to evaluate my own behavior, thoughts and emotions and be responsible for the consequences
2. I have the right to not apologize or explain my behaviour
3. It is up to me to decide whether I am responsible for solving other people’s problems
4. I have the right to change my mind
5. I have the right to make mistakes and take responsibility for my mistakes
6. I have the right to say: “I do not know”
7. I have the right to not dance to other people’s beat just because they are nice to me
8. I have the right to make illogical decisions
9. I have the right to say: “I do not understand you”
10. I have the right to say: “I do not care”
And if you think 10 affirmations are too many to keep track of, take just this one and use it boldly and big time: I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY “NO” WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!
There, you’ve done your own assertiveness therapy!
© 2020 Teodora Rudolph
Photo credit Arian Shkaki 2020
Your focus of attention is a valuable resource on a par with time and money. Even better: while time and money are finite and outside you, your focus is entirely yours and within your command. There is even a saying: Don’t manage your time, manage your focus! Time management is entirely a matter of focus management. Isn’t this empowering?
What can you do to use the resource of your focus?
You can move your focus and shift it the way you want and when you do, your world changes!
You can use your focus to examine and redefine goals!
Let’s take as an example a goal you have been pursuing, a job, a purchase or a diploma. What exactly have you been keeping your eyes on? The goal or what you think the goal would give you? Oftentimes, people get fixated on the object of their pursuit and lose sight of the benefits it promises, benefits that may well be easily within reach or already there in other ways. As it happens, the pursuit of the goal may destroy the very thing for the sake of which the person pursues the goal in the first place. For example, a hard-working man who gets so carried away with the idea of working hard to provide for the family that he ends up neglecting the family and losing it. Have you ever noticed that when people say they need A in order to be B, it is the other way round: they need B in order to have A because when they have B, A becomes a natural consequence of A or a non-issue? For example, somebody may think they need a job in order to have income, recognition and meaningful relationships. Let me ask you this: when you have income, recognition and meaningful relationships, is finding a job a problem? Likely not!
You can resolve problems you have been stuck on!
When you are stuck on a problem, chances are you have been too fixated on a perceived solution to the exclusion of other possibilities and this is how you created the problem in the first place. When you shift your focus away to a place or a time where the problem is not or cannot be, you are in the realm of the solutions. So, how about putting your focus of attention not on what is missing from your life right now, but on what you may have been missing all along! How? By shifting your focus away from where you have been keeping it. By shifting the focus to everything that is not that, by putting your focus anywhere but where it has been, you stop reinforcing the problem, its proportions change, it diminishes, resolves itself. The point I am making is that your ability to de-focus is just as valuable as the ability to focus! “What you focus on is what you get more of” is another popular saying. Focus on the problem, you reinforce it, de-focus from it, it diminishes. Both focusing and de-focusing can be trained.
Try this for yourself!
Let‘s take the idea of having a job! What is it a job can give you? I am guessing income is one of the top answers but is it the only one, or even the main one? Are you ready to do anything for a bit of money and how do you call such people who are? Do you want to be this kind of person? Who do you want to be or become instead? What are all the ways in which you already are this person? What are all the ways in which you can become this person? When you are this amazing person with an amazing life, is getting a job still a problem? Is it possible that this problem has resolved itself in the process of you becoming this amazing person?!
So de-focus from the problem and focus on becoming an amazing person instead because the solution is mostly a side-effect of you becoming and being an amazing person with an amazing life.
And most importantly, learn to budget your resources to serve you so that you achieve your goals for happiness and success.
© 2020 Teodora Rudolph
Photo credit Gerold Guggenbühl, https://www.730andmore.com/