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A dose of inspiration

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something that we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. " - Frederick Keonig

"Stress is the trash of modern life- we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life." -Terri Guillemets

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Get What You Want Out of Life, Ladies!

What is it about the way that girls are raised that makes it so difficult for them to be assertive, even as grown women? Time after time the same struggles come up for my clients, whether it be regarding a romantic relationship, friendships, work issues, family, or anything else that they seem to come across in life. Girls are often taught to make others happy, "be nice", and avoid starting trouble. In addition, any feelings of insecurity, fears of being rejected or abandoned, and self-doubt intensify feelings of wanting to avoid conflict and keep the peace, so to speak. Although keeping things peaceful and avoiding arguments can be a good idea, when it is taken to the extreme, it can result in women being left without their needs met and feelings of resentment and powerlessness.

In talking about assertiveness, I think it's important to clarify what I mean. We're not talking about yelling at others or speaking up regardless of who may get hurt or be effected-that would be considered aggressiveness. When you're assertive, you're expressing your needs in such a way that you are clearly communicating what you want, need, or even don't want, by utilizing honest, straight-forward, and informative words. Using what is called "I" messages can help to communicate your needs in this way. For example, "I feel hurt when you start playing with your phone while I'm trying to tell you something important. I would appreciate if you can look at me when I'm speaking to you and let me know that you hear me." When you express yourself in this way, you are avoiding putting the other person on the defensive, and you're empowering yourself by expressing your feelings and what you would like to see change. People often utilize passive-aggressive communication when they get frustrated, such as saying something like "All you care about is that phone." Saying something like this is not productive and most likely will not motivate the other person to want to change. In summary, if you want someone to listen and understand you, get rid of that elephant in the room by being direct.

  • Avoid putting others on the defensive and don't attack verbally with yelling, cursing, insults, or passive aggressive comments. Don't dig up the past and talk about something they did 10 years ago.
  • Express your feelings about the situation at hand 
  • Explain what you would like to see change
  • Be respectful and speak with confidence. 
If you find it difficult to assert yourself when it's needed, you might want to consider speaking to someone, such as a professional or emotionally intelligent trustworthy friend or family member, in order to better understand why it is difficult for you to ask for what you want and need. Low self-esteem or experiences of lacking validation in your past may contribute to feeling that you don't deserve great things in life. Everyone deserves to be happy and have their needs met, sometimes it's just a matter of asking...

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