1. “Assertiveness is an attitude and a way of thinking in any situation where you need to
    – Express your feelings
    – Ask for what you want, or
    – Say no to something you don’t want.

Becoming assertive involves self-awareness and knowing what you want. Behind this knowledge is the belief that you have the right to ask for what you want. When you are assertive, you are conscious of your basic rights as a human being.” – The assertiveness workbook- Randy Paterson

Think about the following situations to see what you would do in this situation, to see if assertiveness is something you may need to work on:

1. You’re being kept on the phone by a salesperson who is trying to sell something you don’t want.
2. You would like to break off a relationship that is no longer working for you.
3. You’re sitting in a movie and the people behind you are talking.
4. Your doctor keeps you waiting for more than 20 min.
5. Your teenager has the stereo on too loud.
6. You would like to return something to the store to get a refund.
7. You’re standing in line and someone moves in front of you.
8. Your friend has owed you money for a long time-money you could use.
9. You receive a bill that is unusually high for the service you received.
10. Your home repair person is demanding payment but has done unsatisfactory work.
11. You receive food at a restaurant that is over or under cooked.
12. You would like to ask a major favor of your partner or spouse.
13. You would like to ask a major favor from a friend.
14. Your friend asks you a favor that you don’t feel like doing.
15. Your roommate, spouse, son or daughter is not doing their share of work around the house.
16. You are in a group and would like to speak up, but don’t know how your opinion will be received.
17. You would like to strike up a conversation at a gathering, but don’t know anyone.
18. You find your partner’s behavior unacceptable.
19. Your friend drops by unexpectedly, just before you were about to leave to run some errands.
20. Your partner os spouse talks down to you as if you were a child.

How would you respond in the above situations. By evaluating your responses, do you feel that assertiveness is something you need to work on?

Just going to leave you with a few tools to work on how to develop assertiveness, and the rights we have as individuals, before I sign off and head out to all my Easter weekend plans!

Developing assertiveness involves knowing what your rights are within a particular situation, being able to address the person(s) involved with the problem you are experiencing and/or the consequences you are experiencing as a result. Being able to clearly articulate your feelings about the situation, and ask for the changes you require for the situation to change. Let the other perosn know how it will affect you for both gaining or not gaining their co-operation, in a respective, non-aggressive manner. Sounds simple enough, but often is trickier than you might think. If for instance, you are addressing someone who is very manipulative, controlling or aggressive, this may take incredible courage to develop assertiveness for someone who is usually much more submissive, or non-confrontational. But I will touch on that in a couple of weeks when I begin my series on abuse -how to respond and what you can do in response to people who are unyielding and abusive toward you. Keep in mind, as we unpack both assertiveness and abuse, that we are still digesting the subject of boundaries here. What it is that we are responsible for, and what we are not. We cannot control how another person will respond to our requests. The only thing we have power over is ourselves, and the actions we can take in response to any given situation that arises.

So I will leave you with this… Just so you have a beginning point: The Rights of an Individual.
Feel free also, to go back to the beginning of the series on boundaries, for a refresher on what we have responsibility for and what we don’t, as well as what we can do to firm up our boundaries, so that we in turn, can develop more assertiveness.

Here is the list of our Personal Bill of rights:

1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
4. I have the right to change my mind.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m afraid.”
14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”
15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behaviour.
16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
22. I have the right to change and grow.
23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
25. I have the right to be happy.

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

Hope this has been a helpful introduction to the subject of assertiveness! 


What situations do you find to be most difficult to assert yourself?  I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach