“Being assertive does not mean attacking or ignoring others’ feelings. It means that you are willing to hold up for yourself fairly without attacking others.”
- Albert Ellis
When someone asks you for a favor, you probably always see yourself to be nodding in agreement and saying yes while inside, you are screaming no, loudly. Well, you are not the only one my dear.
There are hundreds of you, kind-hearted people, who don’t know how to say no and often end up being taken for granted and even exploited. You can say, I am also someone like that.
Kindness and the World
But after year, and in a hard way, I have learned that saying “No” is a necessary ability that one must possess.
However, I also understand that it is equally difficult for us to actually use this in reality.
When we grow up with all the guidance and better sense that our parents enrich us with, we also learn that we should be there for the people we care for, for them whom we love.
With time, this idea of being there, (even when we are not needed), becomes ingrained in us.
We stick there, for our family members, for our friends, for our love. But what we don’t understand that we are not exactly appreciated for that.
Are you wondering why so? The simple answer is that the world we live in is very unfriendly, my dear.
With time as we grow up, we become self-centered and perhaps selfish too. We choose to ignore what someone else is going through just to be there for us.
We take them for granted because we never knew that what it will be like if that kind-hearted person suddenly walks out of our lives, saying no.
And that behavior hurts them the most. When you are putting efforts, you don’t always need a reward.
But for those efforts, a bit of appreciation is necessary. And when we don’t get that, it hurts.
Mastering the Art of Assertiveness
That is why, even though it seems almost impossible, you must learn to be assertive. To survive in a world, where decency and understanding are often considered as a weakness, assert yourself. Say “No”, loud and clear, but of course not hurting someone else.
Are you wondering how this notion can be possible, then you must take a look at the following points. Here, I am sharing with you what I have learned from my experiences in life. Read on.
Understand the Difference
“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and the well being of others.”
- Sharon Anthony Bower
The first and foremost thing that you have to do is, understanding the difference between saying “ No” when needed and being rude.
This is the primary dilemma of anyone who learns this for the first time. Say no to people but keep the sting of rudeness away from your voice or your gesture.
There is no need to be aggressive in your approach. Just utter the simple word “No” when you feel your boundaries are already stretched too far.
Understand what you should not do and what can be a too fetched favor from your end. In that case, make sure you are saying no.
Have a Clear Sense of Boundary
To say no and to understand where you must say no, it is necessary that you set a clear boundary.
Without that, you won’t be able to understand that you are already going too far by offering more than what they have asked for.
So, have a clear idea of how far you can go for someone.
For example, if you are accompanying a friend somewhere even when you have other responsibilities as well as a busy schedule, it should happen only once.
If you are doing it more than a couple of times already but you hardly get any appreciation from that friend ever, you are already stretching yourself too far. Set your boundaries and next time when you are asked for the similar favor, say no.
Don’t Feel Guilty
There are often many who feel guilty for saying no. And if you are doing for the first time, you are surely going to feel extremely remorseful for this.
But don’t give in to your remorse. It is better that you think of it as a cleansing phase in your life.
After the initial remorse is gone, you will realize that this step of yours is actually for good and it will also make you feel lighter.
It is not a crime to say no my dear. It is just a way of healthy communication by asserting yourself clearly.
Know Where You Must Not Say No
It is again a necessary step in the right direction. Being someone who is newly learning to say no and denying to stretch unnecessary boundaries, it often becomes a struggle to understand where you must not say that.
In fact, there are situations where even when you know you are going far beyond what you should do, you have to go there.
When it is the question of the necessity of your loved ones, it is obvious that you don’t like to say no. Remember here that “Assertiveness is your ability to act in harmony with your self-esteem without hurting others.”
In the process, if you see that the loved one is on the dire need of your assistance, care or help, don’t hesitate or say no.
Again, for this, learning to set the boundary is important. Once you have the concept clear in your head, you will be able to quickly recognize where you are needed the most. In situations like this, to be honest, appreciation takes the backseat.
The knowledge that the loved one is well is enough to give you peace.
So, now as you know about how it is necessary to be assertive and how you can say no and where you should say no, start practicing.
Honestly, you will get better in recognizing the need for it with more time and practice. Remember, “What you allow is what will continue.”