Tag Archives: Responsibility

12 rules to be more assertive…

Have you ever felt that you are the doormat for the world?  That everyone is demanding a piece of you and there are just no more pieces to be given?  Are you desperate to ask for help but feel guilty at the thought of doing so?  You are a) not alone, b) resoundingly normal and c) need to be a bit more assertive.

Being assertive is not the same as being aggressive, demanding or rude.  It is simply having the confidence and the self respect to tell others how you feel, what you need, what you want and that you do not want to go along with something if it is not right for you.  That last one is the kicker.  It is saying no.  Two letters, one syllable and saying it regularly can absolutely change your life for the better.


This takes practice though.  A lot of us have been brought up to be yes people.  We believe that we can do it all, have it all, be the fabulous multi-tasker who can get through massive lists in a single bound.  Some of us might be.  Most of us aren’t.  We may also have been raised with the belief that we should do anything for everyone else, but neglect ourselves.  We do this at our own peril.  I am not saying that you should be selfish and self absorbed, not at all.  But sometimes, if you know you are overwhelmed, you need to say no.  “No, I can’t make it today” or “No, that really is not convenient for me” or “No, you can’t have that candy which will make you bounce of all of the walls and mean you won’t sleep for the next week and a half”.  No.  Practice it.  Say it calmly and firmly.  I promise you, it will work wonders.

According to a book I have been reading, there are 12 rules for assertiveness.  I thought it would be useful to run through them and see if there are any we can apply to our own lives.

self respect

The first rule is that you have the right to have respect for yourself, who you are, what you do and what you are trying to achieve, be that raising children, becoming a high court judge, writing a novel, finishing a study project.  What you are doing is not something to be shy or embarrassed about.  If you have passion about it, if you want to do it, then you can be assertive about it.


Second thing to do is that you have the right to recognise your own needs as an individual.  That is not what your roles are in life – I am a daughter, a friend, a wife, a housekeeper, a student, a gardener, a Christian.  These roles govern my life to a large extent.  This is instead about what I need to do as me. For example, I need to write, I need to create things, I need to grow things, I need to be able to prioritise my health and fitness.  Understanding these needs will mean that you can be assertive about how to use your time so it is works out the best for you, and not for anyone else.  If that means I get up at 6am to get to the pool to do 100 lengths, then that is what I will do, and amend the expectations of the rest of the roles in relation to this requirement.

The third rule of assertiveness is to that you have the right to make clear “I” statements when you are talking about how your feel or what you think.  For example “I feel annoyed that you are out with your buddies and I am in the laundry room folding and putting away all the clothes again”,  That is being assertive.  “How dare you go out with your buddies again when I am slaving away doing the chores!!  It’s not fair!”  That is being a whiny nag.  You are communicating the same frustration, but in very different ways.


The fourth rule is that you have the right to allow yourself to make mistakes.  We are all human, and we all make mistakes.  It is absolutely fine if you take a night off from cooking and have a microwave meal, despite being on another diet.  It is okay if you get to the end of your tether and have a wee sob in the corner.  Do what you have to do.  Mistakes mean that you will learn what works and what doesn’t.

change your mind

The fifth rule is that you have the right to change our mind if you choose to.  I am not talking about that second pair of cute shoes (but hell, if you can afford it…), I am rather talking about the big stuff.  I no longer want to be a housewife, I will go back to the world of work – absolutely your right.  I do not want to structure my day in this way, I am going to change it so I can fit in more exercise – again, absolutely your right.

thinking time

The sixth rule is that you have the right to ask for thinking about it time.  If people are demanding that you do something, and that something is not what you want to do, you are perfectly within your rights to say “I would like to think that over and I will get back to you by the end of the week”.  You then really need to get back to them by the end of the week, because otherwise that would be rude, but you are within your rights to say thanks but no thanks.

celebrate success

The seventh rule of assertiveness is that you have the right to enjoy your successes.  If you are proud of yourself for something, then tell people.  It is absolutely fine.  When I have reached my weight loss goal, you can believe that I will be shouting from the highest rooftops and sharing with everyone I know!  I also know that most of the people I know and love with be celebrating with me!


The eighth rule is that you have the right to ask for what you want.  This is absolutely key.  If you really need some help with keeping the garden up to scratch, then ask for the help.  If you need someone to tame the laundry monster for you, then ask for the help.  You must ask though, because it maybe that the people around you will not see that you need the assistance.  You can’t guarantee that the people around you will know precisely what you need all the time – they aren’t mind readers.


The ninth rule of assertiveness is that you have the right to recognise that your responsibility is not for the behaviour of other adults.  It is only for your own behaviour.  Nor are you responsible for pleasing other adults all the time.  If they are “disappointed” in you for whatever reason, then that is their problem, not yours.  If they have a hard time getting library books back on time and keep incurring fines, when it is their problem not yours.  I will confess, this is the hardest rule for me to keep.

The tenth rule is that you have the right (actually it is more of an obligation) to respect other people and their right to be assertive.  If you do that for them, then with any luck, they will do the same for you.  Life is essentially about compromise, so if you are being all assertive about your needs, remember that the other people who live with you also need to be assertive about their needs.  Be prepared for some give and take.


The eleventh rule is that you have the right to say “I don’t understand”.  This is particularly useful if you get a poor reaction to some of your assertiveness.  Someone goes off in a huff because you have said you can’t make the girly spa afternoon, because it clashes with your children’s school play, then you need to get them to explain why they are upset.  Sometimes it is just a matter of clearly explaining that the children needs to come first.  In the final analysis if people are unwilling or unable to communicate in that way, then do you really need them in your life?  Probably not.


Finally, the twelfth rule of assertiveness is that you have the right to deal with others without depending on them for approval.  I am not going to lie; this one is tough.  You obviously want your nearest and dearest to support you in your ideas and plans.  But in the final analysis, the only person you need approval from is yourself.  It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t got any underwear left in the drawer and it is then that you holler for help with the laundry.  All the disapproving tuts in the world are not going to help matters are they?  Or the house is at risk of a health inspection and that is when you call in the troops for a declutter and clean out.  Yes, you let it get to that state, but that is okay.  You did your best, now you need your help.  Yes, I do understand how hard that is to do!

I hope you feel that these rules will be helpful to you.  I have certainly picked up a couple of tips.


It is all about Attitude…

I was going to write today about the foods which stress the nervous system, as a bit of a follow on from Wednesday’s post.  As I drove home through the Nottinghamshire countryside following a job interview though, I was musing about how negative that was for a blog post.  I do not like being negative.  I want to be more positive.


I was also musing about how my studies are going at the moment, and whether, if I do get a full time role, I would be able to continue with them, as well as keeping the house and garden up to snuff.  As I mused about exactly how organised I am going to have to be… I also recalled one of the things mentioned in my Advanced Life Coaching lesson which I completed on Sunday (and got 100% for as well!).

They used a mnemonic in relation to the ideal mindset for a successful coach, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it as a slogan for living.  Using the letters of the word ATTITUDE, gives you all you need to know and work on.


A stands for Action Oriented.  Clearly, sitting on your backside and complaining about stuff is not going to get your very far at all.  You need to be prepared to get up and do something.

T stands for Taking Responsibility.  There is little benefit in pretending that everything is going to be done by someone else, or someone else is to blame for your current predicament, whatever that is.  In some cases, it might be a combination of events, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but whatever it is, you are a part of it.  So you can take responsibility and try and change it.  You might only have influence over one part, or one small area, but sorting that small corner out will make you feel better, and it might set the wheels in motion to sort out the whole.


T also stands for Turn Fear into Focus.  I don’t know about you, but there are some things that terrify the daylights out of me.  Not just heights and spiders.  Big things.  Like War, Global conflict, what would happen if the whatsit really hit the windmill and life as we know it just stopped, going to the Doctor and them finding something is actually wrong with me.  That sort of thing.  So instead of dwelling on the fears, I turn it into a focus.  One of the reasons I am studying and working hard in the garden and house is because I am teaching myself skills which would be useful in an apocalypse scenario.  I can grow plants to feed my family, I can make clothes to keep us warm, I can knit jumpers, I can make curtains, I can make soap, I can make quilts.  With Herbalism knowledge I could keep my nearest and dearest healthy without the need for doctors, if they were wiped out and no one could find the stash of antibiotics.  I know it might sound like the plot of a Hollywood Blockbuster, or the rantings of a nutter, but whether I could cope in such an emergency made me scared.  So I confronted it and have changed my life.


The I in Attitude stands for Imitate Excellence, or “the fake it till you make it” model.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in this case, if you want to BE a confident extrovert, then look at one and copy what they do.  That is what I did.  By nature I am not a confident extrovert, but I knew that being a timorous introvert wasn’t going to get my very far.  So, I copied someone.  I faked it.  Now, when I tell people that I am actually very shy and rather nervous, most people howl with laughter.  But it is true.

T stands for Transforming negatives into positives.  It is only in the last 4 or 5 years that I have been able to do this.  My default setting is to see the negative of everything first and have to dig to see the positive.  However, a good friend of mine, over on the website http://www.mortgagefreeinthree.com, put me onto a couple of books which transformed the way I look at things.  There are ALWAYS positives, in every situation.  Yes, some of them need digging up and a whole heap of polishing, but they are always there.  Finding them is one of the most freeing things I have ever managed to do!  But it is not easy.  None of this stuff is.  But it is worth it in the end.

hidden talents

U stands for uncovering hidden talents.  This is what I enjoy doing most.  When I find something I want to learn how to do, I am often nervous the first time I do it.  It might go wrong, I might look like twit attempting something.  But then, I think “Hang on… if everyone else manages to do this… then so can I”.  My nerves go and then I am off to have a go.  I have learnt so much from doing this.  I am becoming something of a polymath with all the new skills I have, and I am having so much fun doing it!

D stands for Develop yourself.  A lot of people say, after their college or high school finals, ” right, that is the last exam I am ever taking”.  I never did.  I sort of collect qualifications.  I do it because I am interested in the skills, or I need the qualification for my career progression, but I am always, always developing myself.  I have discovered the Mindstore visualisation techniques, I am studying naturopathy.  All because I want to develop myself.


The final letter, E, is for Expect the Unexpected.  Really, I think it is being open to the opportunities that might land on your lap from unexpected directions.  It could be a job opportunity, it could be the chance to go sky diving, it could be absolutely anything.  If you are not open to new experiences, then you might not find the best thing that has ever happened to you.

So, on that note, it is all about the Attitude.  My weekend is going to be about finishing off painting the hallway, cleaning my house up and getting the washing and ironing sorted.  All important things to be done, and I can’t wait to get stuck into them!  Have a good weekend!