There is a very fine line between being assertive and becoming aggressive. It is one that some dance along beautifully and others fail miserably.
By going in gently to a difficult situation, you risk being earmarked as passive and then promptly walked all over. By going in hard and fast, you’re sure to offend and possibly be viewed as being aggressive.
This is where skill, tactic and a little practice plays a part.
I once worked with a lovely lady that could ever so politely tell you where to go. In fact, she did so in such a way that you enjoyed the trip. If ever a sticky situation arose, I would watch her confront the issue head on, with calm and grace.
Secretly, I had a girl crush on her. Even though she was in her 60’s.
I used to think … When I grow up I am going to be just like Pam. Pam had lovely posture, an immaculate appearance and a very clear approach to problems. Pam has now left my workplace and slowly but surely I am growing up and working towards being like Pam.
I like to call my method of assertion, Pam’s Law of Assertion.
It goes like this …
1. Say how you’re feeling.
‘I am not feeling very good about this …’
2. Describe the situation.
‘When this happened … and you …’
3. State what you would like to happen.
‘I would appreciate you not doing …. again.’
Now, if by chance the situation is pleasant. Stick around and discuss the topic plenty. If it turns foul, walk away. You have stated your case. Do not lower yourself in any way.
Secondly, let me be completely upfront about one thing, I can pull off Pam’s Law beautifully on almost all occasions, bar one that hampers me constantly.
So I tell myself this …WHAT YOU ALLOW WILL CONTINUE. By this I hope that one day soon I will have the strength to address the issue.
So here are my 6 reasons why you too should work on being beautifully assertive.
1. You don’t need to make everyone happy in this world, but you do need to make YOU happy. See Pam’s Law.
2. People are going to take advantage of you. Some you allow willingly, others just steal it. If it doesn’t suit you, you need to mark your boundaries and advertise them. See Pam’s Law.
3. Assertion is a display of your integrity. Integrity gains you respect. See Pam’s Law.
4. Being assertive when you are a parent or have someone in your care is essential. It is your job to advocate for the wellbeing of the person in your care. If this is your child, in particular, if this is your sick child or even sick parent and things don’t feel right you must escalate and be assertive. Becoming aggressive or overtly upset may backfire on you, but being calm and stating facts clearly will see a better outcome. See Pam’s Law.
5. Being confident and sure of what you want will allow those around you to respond to you appropriately. Being passive or even worse passive aggressive is too ambiguous. You are simply setting yourself up for disappointment. See Pam’s Law.
6. Being assertive will improve your self esteem and confidence. See Pam’s Law.