|Being more assertive
"I often know what I'd
like to say, but don't have the courage. They might be the experts, but they
don't always know best"
often have difficulties asserting themselves and may lack self-confidence
and self-esteem. You may feel guilty when you say “no” to something
and sometimes say “yes” when you don’t want to. You may find it
difficult to ask for help and feel guilty and embarrassed when it is
- You have a right to let others know what you
are feeling and what you need. You are denying your own importance and
creating stress to yourself and others if you do not. Other people cannot
be expected to read your mind. They have a right to be asked for help and
to understand your true feelings.
- Being assertive can help to maintain and
promote good social relationships with the person you care for, with other
family members and with professionals. Assertive behaviour means being
positive, but not aggressive.
- You need to be clear in your own mind what
you want and ask for it directly. Do not try dropping hints that may be
misunderstood. Behaving too submissively can be very irritating to others
and mean that what you want is overlook
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someone asks you to do something, take notice of your
gut reaction. Don’t just say “Yes” because it is expected. Honesty
generates respect. Remember that you are only responding to the question,
not to the person and that an alternative solution can always be found.
to say “No” without apology or aggression gives a feeling of control
over your life and reduces stress. Do not make excuses, that leave you
open to being pressured into changing your mind.
foster positive social contacts by, for example, beginning conversations,
paying compliments and expressing emotions. Control unpleasant social
contacts by dealing with criticism, saying “no” if necessary and
finishing unfavourable conversations.
be positive in your dealings with other people, for example, by:
clear about what you want
offers of help
to what you want to say
Local adult education centres often run
assertiveness courses that are open to everyone, and some that are just for
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers offers
advice on coping with the system and dealing with professionals (tel 020
Useful books include:
‘Assertiveness Step by Step’, by Windy
Dryden and Daniel Constantinou, published in 2004 by Sheldon Press. ISBN 0
859 699 250
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