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  • Do I have the right to be assertive?

    Practicing assertiveness can be a challenge. In previous articles, we discussed how asserting our right to say, “no” can be a difficult challenge even when our health is on the line. We can feel pressure from our job and from society to behave passively, by putting the rights and needs of others above our own. We discussed how behaving aggressively, by putting your rights and needs above those of others, can damage your valued relationships. We even discussed the myths that prevent people from behaving assertively by placing equal importance on the rights and needs of themselves and others.

    Today, we will discuss what the Center for Clinical Interventions (CIC) refers to as our Assertive Rights. Let’s review the Assertive Rights from the CIC workbook Assert Yourself!, which is quoted below:

    • You have the right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
    • You have the right to say “no”.
    • You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.
    • You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
    • You have the right to change your mind.
    • You have the right to disagree with someone’s opinion.
    • You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them.
    • You have the right to say, ‘I don’t know’.
    • You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
    • You have the right to say, ‘I don’t understand’.
    • You have the right to say, ‘I don’t care’.

    Now, that we are aware of our Assertive Rights, we must remember that these rights also come with consequences and responsibilities. Practicing assertiveness does not mean that we are free to ignore the consequences of our behavior. For example, we are free decline to help our friends move to a new apartment without feeling guilty or offering excuses. However, our friends are free to do the same to us. Assertiveness inherently involves considering the consequences of our actions for ourselves and others.

    Now that we have learned about our Assertive Rights, in the next article we will discuss how to think more assertively. If you are interested in learning how CBT, conducted via online therapy (telehealth), can help you to practice assertiveness, schedule a free phone consultation.

    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.