In order to understand what assertiveness is, I find that it’s helpful to first identify what it isn’t, as there are many misconceptions about it: it’s not being pushy, aggressive, or demanding. It also doesn’t just mean speaking your mind or telling people what you think. Instead, assertiveness refers to reflecting on your emotional history, understanding and managing your feeling, then expressing yourself in a way that will strengthen your relationships. It’s a way of articulating what you believe while also allowing room for differences. Overall, assertiveness is a way of being your true self while also becoming closer to others.
I recently sat down with Lindsay Aerts of KSL’s “The Mom Show” to discuss some ideas from my book “The Assertiveness Guide for Women,” specifically assertiveness in parenting. We talked about how difficult it is can be to express ourselves to our children is ways that are effective and firm but still kind; no one wants to be a nag, a “momster,” but sometimes it’s a real challenge to keep our patience.
There are three stances we can take when communicating in difficult circumstances. The lantern is the goal for all communication. A lantern values her own feelings and thoughts but is also mindful of and sensitive toward those of others. Individuals with a doormat stance often allow their own needs and feelings to be trampled on. Those with a sword stance are perhaps too vocal, even pushy, about their views, as they express them in ways that are harsh and alienating to others.
How is differentiation of self related to assertiveness? When a woman asserts herself, she is differentiating her needs, thoughts, feelings, or wants from another person. She is essentially saying, “I’m think something different than you. I have other feelings than you do. I’m not you.” True assertiveness, as I define it, means that this is done in a way that’s not alienating or rude but still clearly makes those differences known.
Grab a friend and join me for this rare one-day workshop for LDS women in Salt Lake City this summer. Don’t wait! Early-bird tickets on sale (Save $50). Seating is limited. Purchase tickets and get details below:
I had a delightful chat with the passionate and brilliant Gina Colvin, host of A Thoughtful Faith podcast a few days ago about Mormon women, particularly those from Utah, and the challenge of developing and using our own voices.
Finding out that a loved one has stepped away from Church activity or no longer believes in the Gospel can bring up a broad spectrum of emotions. Intense and often painful emotions can make it difficult to know what to say to your loved one about their choice to leave the Church.
Based on both clinical wisdom from working with women and from her own experiences, Dr. de Azevedo Hanks invites women to embark on a journey to create a stronger sense of clarity, confidence, connection, and compassion by increasing their assertiveness in the areas of their lives that matter most. This book is useful to any woman who desires to increase her assertiveness and is a good tool for clinicians to use when addressing issues of connection, gender, attachment, and assertiveness. This wonderful guide is highly recommended for anyone who wants to be more assertive.
Reviewed by Beth Russell, Ph.D., LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, The College at Brockport for New Social Worker
Watch for my advice on saying no in Jan. 2017 Real Simple Magazine cover story “Say Yes to Saying No”! Saying no is necessary but it’s rarely easy. Need help to to say no? Look no further. Get better at saying No in 2017!
Are there ways to approach difficult conversations that will make it more likely that we’ll be heard? Absolutely. I talked with Scabs, host of Love Rice podcast about communication strategies and tips form my newest book The Assertiveness Guide for Women. We share some personal stories about difficult conversations we’ve had recently. In this interview I come off more like a chatty girlfriend than a “professional.” It feels like listening in on two girlfriends talking.