“Sometimes it’s good to proclaim your independence, otherwise you’re always just a foregone conclusion.”
This quote by Kelsey Grammar’s character (Mayor Tom Kane) in the HBO TV political series, BOSS, was made in reference to a tepid partisan allegiance of another character. By extension, such a quote can be made applicable to almost all areas of our lives, and in how we conduct our relationships.
The term “assertive” is one that is used liberally. You’ve probably used it as a descriptive term in the past (or sometime in the last hour). With that said, what does the state of being assertive really mean?
Generally speaking, the adjective is defined as “having or showing a confident and forceful personality”. Other synonyms of this term include, bold, decisive, forthright and even emphatic.
You get the sense of a brash individual that isn’t a pushover.
Probing slightly deeper, psychologists, further describe assertiveness as “a state of being present in a relationship”. In other words, one is able to succinctly convey one’s desires and requests to another party, and also reciprocate that gesture.
With these two definitions, it is safe to say that assertiveness is a skill that one needs in order to have a healthy relationship and live harmoniously. How then does one go around cultivating such important proficiency?
Well, for starters, it does involve a slight mental reorientation in one’s perception of self. NLP training could be an integral tool that aids in the discovery and unleashing of such inner strength to make the change.
The following are some of the primary results you would be privy to if Neuro Linguistic Programming was included to facilitate your pathway to building more assertiveness:
Understanding that you’ve got the right to say no
Most individuals are well aware of the fact that they’re being taken for granted and treated unfairly, but still have trouble with saying no to such exploitation. On the other end of the spectrum, you have people who don’t consider themselves as unassertive but do feel disheartened and discontent about key areas of their lives, and feel that the abuser (romantic partner or superior at work for instance) has the right to inflict such mistreatment, and as such, do nothing.
NLP training would enable such individuals to realise that changes need to be made, that they have rights that are being denied, and that the power to remedy the situation lies with them.
Uncovering suitable techniques of self-assertion in different situations
A key component of NLP training is the deconstruction of successful situations and formulating scenarios and processes that can then be adapted. You would be able to carefully observe how other people (who have overcome a similar predicament) respond in different scenarios, and determine whether or not they’re being unassertive, assertive or aggressive.
This deduction would offer some insight with the articulation of your emotions in each of those re-enacted scenarios, understanding why you feel such emotions, and brainstorm desired changes that should be implemented.
Rehearsing assertive responses
After undergoing such scenario re-enactments and coming up with the desired responses to those hostile situations, practicing responses with someone you trust or alone (realistically) would be encouraged.
The more these responses are practiced continuously, the more confident one becomes and can build on that momentum to include more natural replies during such role-play sessions.
Applying your practice to real life occurrences
Beginning with much easier and less emotionally charged situations (like speaking confidently and clearly when making an order at a coffee shop), apply your rehearsed responses into everyday situations, and generally, build on the already built confidence and go for it. Also, understanding that nothing in real-life is scripted, be open and flexible to make changes to those responses.
Treat such exercise as you would new shoes – ease into them nice and easy. You might not always get it right at the onset, but practice as they say makes perfect.
You can do it!