Assertiveness is considered the most efficient style of communication and behavior. It allows us to regulate our thoughts and emotions better and to build and maintain healthier relationships. It generates the mindset and social environment that facilitate the achievement of our personal and professional goals.
The many advantages of Assertiveness make it one of the most sought after skills that individuals want to develop in order to improve their lifestyle. It's a path toward independence of thought, authenticity and a harmonious social environment.
Assertiveness basically refers to the complex ability to think, emotionally react and act in a way that is non-passive and non-aggressive. A primarily assertive person is able to openly express their opinions, feelings, needs, and desires in a way that is respectful of their own rights and the rights of others.
Assertiveness is a multi-dimensional concept and I believe that in order to fully activate it and gain the main benefits related to this communication and behavioral style, a multi-dimensional approach is needed as well: one that will simultaneously address thinking patterns (creating a mainly rational thinking environment), the understanding of how these patterns shape our emotions and ultimately, how to project these inner events into observable behaviors, such as verbal and non-verbal communication and the overall management of social relationships.
One of the first steps in the process of activating Assertiveness as your primary style of communication and behavior, one that has the potential to shape both your thoughts and attitude toward yourself and others, is to get to know what these rights that you're supposed to claim and respect are.
If you are familiar with personal development materials, then you may have come across different lists of such rights and you may have observed their similarities and differences. Some lists may comprise of 10 items, others may have 7 or less. This happens because there is no definite list when it comes to assertive rights. They are all subjective clusters of statements, but what makes them valid in the personal development environment is that they stem from the basic principles of assertiveness: finding your way toward your legitimate freedom, authenticity, and well-being and at the same time displaying respect and causing no harm to other beings or the environment. And you will easily notice the similarities between basic human rights and the assertive rights that we consider in contexts of communication and social interactions. These lists express in terms of liberties the main assertive principles, so that we will have a better framework in which we can assess and regulate our inner and social dynamic.
So here is my list of Assertive Rights and Principles that I mainly consider in communication and social settings. Although I will use numbers to organize the list, there is no particular order or hierarchy between these statements.
- You are entitled to your own beliefs, values, and the associated emotions.
- You have the right to act in accordance with your beliefs, values and associated emotions, as long as you do not deliberately seek to hurt others.
- You have the right to assess your own thoughts, values, emotions, and behaviors and take upon yourself the full responsibility for their expression and consequences.
- You have the right to decide upon your implication in actions that benefit others.
- You have the right to offer no justification or apology for your actions.
- You have the right to make mistakes and take responsibility for them. You don’t have to be perfect.
- You have the right to be irrational and make decisions based on irrational reasoning.
- You have the right to disagree with others. You are entitled to different opinions.
- You have the right to be respected as an individual.
- You have the right to display your skills and benefit from the results of your work.
- You have the right to say NO to the requests of others. No justification, no guilt.
- You have the right to formulate your own goals and choose your own priorities.
- You have the right to change your mind, your opinions and your beliefs.
- You have the right to say “I don’t know” and “I do not understand”.
- You have the right to be independent.
Feel free to consider each of these rights in the context of your own life. Do they seem valid to you, do you claim them all, most of them, few, none? Would you add any other new assertive right to the list?
Let me know in the comment section below.