Monday, November 29, 2010

Assertiveness Bill of Rights

Has anyone ever told you to be more assertive?  Have you ever wished you could say what you really thought?  Assertiveness is something that most of us have to learn and practice; it rarely comes naturally.  As women, assertiveness may be more difficult due to lingering social biases (for example, women earn only 77% of what men earn), making the development of assertiveness skills more difficult.  To get you started on becoming more assertive, here's a list of "rights" that every person has:

  1. You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions.  You don't have to agree with the judgments of others.  With this right comes the responsibility for the managing your behavior, thoughts, and emotions.
  2. You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.  Sometimes you just want to say "no."  You don't have to have a good reason for declining an offer.  I practice my assertiveness when a salesperson come to the door.  I say, "I'm not interested right now."  Sometimes they want reasons, but I proceed to shut the door on them.  But if it's a little kid, I'm nice. :)
  3. You have the right to judge whether you are responsible for finding the solutions to other people's problems.  Just because someone wants you to find a solution for them doesn't mean that you must.
  4. You have the right to change your mind.  As women, we already know this, right? :)
  5. You have the right to make mistakes--and be responsible for them.  Everyone makes mistakes.  As long as we are taking appropriate responsibility, no one should make us feel even worse than we already do.
  6. You have the right to say, "I don't know."  We are not require to have all the answers.  Besides, pretending like we do turns other people off!
  7. You have the right to be independent of the good will of others before dealing with them.  This means that we are not obligated to be nice to someone if they are nice to us!  Around Christmas time, this is a huge issue.  How many times have you scrambled around for a gift because someone gave you a gift and you weren't planning on getting on for them?  In reality, you are free to give gifts to whomever you please no matter what they have done or have not done for you.  
  8. You have the right to make illogical decisions.  We don't always make decision based on firm grounds of deductive reasoning, and that's ok.
  9. You have the right to say, "I don't understand."  It's ok to ask about something if you're not sure.  No one should make you feel stupid.
  10. You have the right to say, "I don't care."  We may not have an opinion on every issues, and frankly, we may not even care enough to form an opinion.  If we cared about everything from baby seals to HIV to what to have for dessert, we would get very overloaded--and very disappointed.


  1. I feel like I should print these out and hang them on my mirror. And repeat it everyday. ;)

  2. Ha! Vanessa, you're so cute! Practice makes permanent (not perfect)!


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