assertiveness

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Healthy Boundaries!

“My mother is always telling me what to do, and then she wonders why I don’t call her more often,” my client sighed as she wiped away tears of frustration. 

“Do you tell her that you’d prefer her not to do that?” I prodded gently.

“No! I can’t talk back to my mother,” she replied, shocked.

All of us have personal space that we must protect from invasion by others and most of us are aware that our bodies belong to us. This is why we recognize that it’s not OK to force or coerce our children into hugging or kissing people against their will. Our bodies are ours alone.

We realize we should protect our physical space from those who get closer or more physical than we’d prefer, but do you know that you have emotional space that belongs to you as well? I use the hula hoop as an illustration of this.

My feelings, my decisions, my consequences…

As an adult, it’s my right to determine my own life. Imagine a hula hoop worn by each of us. Inside that hoop are decisions such as when you sleep, what you eat, whether or not you exercise, take care of yourself, whether or not you attend worship, have hobbies, political or religious beliefs, how you raise your children-well, you get the idea. 

When we start to tell people our opinions about how they choose in these areas, we are jumping their hoop and getting into the space that rightly belongs to them. When we allow others to criticize or lecture us about our choices, we allow invasion into our hula hoop as well. This causes insecurity, resentment, and the presence of control.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…

Keeping our opinions to ourselves about the life choices of other adults is part of respecting the freedom we all have to live our lives the way we see fit. Saying a firm but friendly “hey, that’s my call about how I live my life, so let’s talk about something else” is essential to taking care of YOU.

 I can help you with assertive and kind answers to keeping others out of your hula hoop. Let’s get started!

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Healthy Communication Tips

“Finding your voice” is a wonderful benefit of therapy, as you learn here that you have both a RIGHT to ask for what you want and the WAY to state your needs respectfully.  Some basic tips when you are “saying what you need to say:”

Use “I Need” instead of “you should.” 

It is not OK for you to tell other people how to live their lives. “Saying what you need to say” is NOT a license to judge, criticize or otherwise counsel others!

 It IS OK to require them to treat you with respect, but you must first ask respectfully. This means not yelling your message at them. Not using sarcasm or anger. It means speaking up firmly and courteously about what you will or will not tolerate.

Speak honestly, clearly and directly—don’t hint, manipulate or guilt-trip others. 

We get in trouble when we expect others to “just know” or read our minds. This is a common pitfall when dealing with the opposite sex. Women, most guys don’t get all the hints and signals that your girlfriends do. It’s not a sign of any lack of love. “Say what you need to say” without playing games.

After you say what you need to say, take responsibility for what comes next.

You have choices here. Maybe you’ll get what you’ve asked for, maybe you won’t. The next step is to decide what is required in order for you to stay in the relationship or on the job. Do you need to require marital counseling? Do you need a different job where you are respected? Do you need a time apart? Do you need to hire help to get things accomplished which are being neglected?

Then, do what you need to do.  Say what you need to say.  And let me know if I can help in that process.