Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, but often that doesn’t happen. It may take a great deal of effort to insist on fair treatment. You might even be put in an uncomfortable situation by having to confront a superior, but sometimes being assertive can be as simple as expressing your needs or opinions. However, many people today have difficulty asserting themselves. Often, this lack of self-expression comes from a need to “protect” the other person or to “not cause any problems”. This can be alright most of the time but when someone uses your passive acceptance to their advantage to become domineering, it is not the moment to sit passively by. This is the moment to assert yourself, however difficult that may be.
ADHD & Assertiveness
Research about assertiveness has shown that it has several components. Often, to make requests or ask for favors, you must overcome self-doubt, and the fears which prevent you from speaking up. Part of being assertive is also knowing when to turn down other people’s requests and favors. A sense of when to end a conversation and to end it on good terms (without a sense of anger or reluctance) is an important factor in how to approach a situation assertively.
Many people have a problem saying the word “no” to people, be they superiors or equals. The first step in becoming assertive is realizing where there are unfair imbalances that need to be changed. You can embrace that you can insert your opinion and you can say “no” to things that you not think are right. Practice saying this alone to yourself or creating a practice scenario with a friend. Belief in yourself is also a large part of being assertive. To know that you are in the right and that it is completely within your rights to confront someone who might be in the wrong.
These confrontations can be tricky. It is all about how you inform the person of your dissatisfaction. Begin by describing the situation as you see it. Then progress into what you see to be the issue at hand, making sure not to use any directly accusatory statements. Instead use “I” statements ( I think ____ because _____) to keep the conversation less confrontational. Be sure not to accuse the other person but instead to calmly tell them, in a direct manner, what it is that you want changed. Try to also consider the other person’s perspective and most of all DO NOT THREATEN THE PERSON YOU ARE CONFRONTING. If you threaten them is it infinitely less likely that you will get what you want.
Overall, practicing assertiveness in the little things in life can transfer to larger confrontations. One way to practice would be to try to confront a close friend about some minor flaw or even just telling the waiter to send back your food because they didn’t it right.
You no longer have to be passive and while it might take a bit of effort, asserting yourself presents an image of yourself that is well thought and confident. Assertiveness goes as far as you are willing to take it.