Assertiveness Training: Looking at Your Struggle to Say "No"
Healthy Assertiveness Credo: I will protect my priorities
Imagine constantly feeling like you're left out, unnoticed, and disrespected because you never say what bothers you; missing out on something special, or frustrated that you said "yes" to something you really would've rather said "no" to, but didn't, for fear of all of the above.
Well, that was me for probably a good part of 10 years or so.
See, for me, for the longest time, I would feel these frustrations I didn't understand. And much of the time, they led me to consistently (and faithfully) put aside my own priorities for the sake of fulfilling someone else's agenda. Now, I want to be careful here, because I'm not an advocate of saying "no" just for the hell of it or proving a point to someone that you're in control - that's actually passive-aggressive behavior and not what we're going for.
I am however, in favor of you doing a little something I like to call protecting the sacred circle of your priorities. Assertively please.
Why the heck a sacred circle of priorities and what the heck is that?
Well, in my case above, it would've been all the things I really do truly highly value - quiet time, reflection, selective socializing, and freedom of choice.
Yet, these continually were all things I was giving up and chucking in the back of the pickup truck like old, empty beer cans. (I'm from Texas y'all - I can't help the reference).
I was not protecting the things I hold sacred in my life for so many years. I clung to my extroverted friends because I felt like it was the only way to get noticed and be "included".
Then, when I would get attention, I would immediately dumb down my voice because I didn't know what the heck to do with the attention (after all, I never gave it any space to talk - it was always doing what other people wanted).
Yeah - not good times. Are you getting this?
And I would constantly get dragged to events I didn't want to be at. Good Lord, did I ever.
I had NO CLUE how to say no or protect my sacred circle of priorities - partly because I didn't even know they needed to be priorities. I knew I loved those things (quiet time, reflection, introspection, etc.), but I didn't know how important it was to honor them.
Now I do. And I do.
I want to say something here, too. I know it's going to be uncomfortable for you in the beginning, but your challenge this week is to:
- Name and write down all of your priorities that you consider to be classified as sacred (i.e. important enough to you to protect them, no matter what - like a Mom would her kids)
- Commit to keeping those priorities from harm, from the outside world, from negative force fields, and judgment
You'll have an easier time saying no when you feel like you're doing your due diligence; protecting that which is sacred and necessary.
And I gotta tell ya - not everyone will understand it, and not everyone has to. All they need to know? Is that this is your commitment to yourself and it requires respect and understanding.
It may be uncomfortable for some people who know you to be traditionally passive in your interactions with them (or whatever the scenario), but the more consistent you are, the better it will get.
You'll hear me say it a bajillion times - assertiveness is a lifestyle and it has to be consistent to be effective. And this is not you "trying to be extroverted" (Oh, how I LOATHE that teaching) - it's you honoring your essential nature to remain introverted in a world that wants to (a lot of the time) mold and change you.
These trainings are an opportunity for you to start somewhere, and I hope you will.
If you're on Pinterest, I created a graphic for you to share this week to always have as a reminder of this lesson. Just click on it to pin it!
PS - In the spirit of total transparency, here's some of my sacred circle priorities. These are things that are not compromise-able for me & I will protect no matter what...
Quiet time alone, time to spend on my business, social time with genuine friends who are truly interested in my life and value our relationship, good stewardship, and my health.
If you feel comfortable sharing some of yours, I'd love to know them below.
With gratitude as always for reading & trusting me to teach you these concepts,