Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EXPRESS YOURSELF BY BEING ASSERTIVE part 3

HOW TO BE ASSERTIVE

Therefore, improving your self-esteem will help you to be more assertive. Similarly, the positive outcomes from taking the risk to act assertively will help to boost your belief in yourself and boost your self-esteem.

Overall, thinking positively about being assertive makes it easier to actually be assertive. We can increase our ability to communicate in an assertive manner by replacing our non-assertive messages (self-talk) with messages that support assertive behavior, such as:
• I have the right to be assertive
• I deserve to make choices that support me
• All my feelings are valid
• I have the right to say no
• I do no have to offer excuses for my choices or behaviors
• I have the right to ask to have my needs met

What are three positive beliefs that would support you being assertive? Look back at the three negative beliefs you listed above for ideas. Try changing them into positive statements.

It takes time and practice to change our communication style and become more assertive. By recognizing which of our old beliefs keep us non-assertive, challenging them and then replacing them with new beliefs that support us being assertive, we can increase the likelihood of us initiating and maintaining a new assertive and confident style of communication.

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Authored by Barbara Small She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and is also trained as a Life Coach.

EXPRESS YOURSELF BY BEING ASSERTIVE part 2

FACTORS LIMITING YOU FROM BEING ASSERTIVE

There are many scenarios that could have encouraged someone to be non-assertive. Some of us were punished when we spoke out so we learned to be passive and quiet. Other people were given messages about expressing themselves, such as "children are to be seen and not heard" or "don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about." As a result they concluded that others did not want to hear what they had to say or how they felt. Still others were taught that it was conceited to put themselves first, so they learned to be people-pleasers.

On the other end of the continuum, people were taught that the only way to get their needs met or to get attention was to compete and be "better" than the other person. They learned how to be aggressive and to win.

It is important to identify what our blocks are to being assertive, so that in addition to learning practical skills on how to communicate assertively, we can also work at clearing away any obstacles to initiating and maintaining these new behaviors.

Take a moment to reflect. How did you personally learn to be non-assertive? What were some of your life experiences which emphasized your passivity, aggression or other non-assertive behavior?

Do any of these beliefs about communicating assertively sound familiar?
• It's selfish
• Others will think I am arrogant and conceited
• I will hurt the other person's feelings
• The other person will get angry
• I need to appear stronger than them
• Other's needs come first
• It's rude
• I will get in trouble

What are three negative beliefs you personally have about being assertive and that keep you non-assertive?

One very common belief that is an obstacle to behaving assertively is that others will think that we are being selfish. Taking care of our own needs and expressing ourselves does not mean that we are being selfish. For many people the word "selfish" has a very negative connotation. I like to say we are being "self-full". Our needs and other people's needs do not have to be mutually exclusive. Just because we make choices for ourselves does not mean that we will always choose to ignore others and not do anything for them. But when we do consider others, we will do it from a place of choice rather than a place of "have to" or fear.

Also, when we make choices for others we may be taking away the opportunity for them to make choices for themselves. So instead of thinking of being assertive as being selfish, think of it as respecting our rights and the rights of others to make personal choices for ourselves.

Others may be surprised and comment negatively on our assertiveness, but that does not mean we acted inappropriately. Sometimes people don't like other people who are assertive. They may think an assertive person is "full of themselves" and doesn't care about other people. This can often be because the recipient of the assertive behavior is not getting what they want. They can't manipulate the other person. The assertive person is standing up to them and that doesn't work for them.

How someone responds to our assertiveness is his or her choice. We are not responsible for someone else's feelings, actions or decisions.

If they do not like your behavior it is up to them to be assertive with us as well and let us know. Or they need to find some other way to get their needs met. Assertiveness allows flexibility and space for negotiation.

Self-esteem and assertiveness are directly related. If we don't feel good about ourselves and believe in ourselves, we are more likely to look externally for answers and motivation. If we don't trust ourselves, we are less likely to be assertive and express our feelings, needs and wants. We are more likely to try to manipulate and control the situation so that the outcome is predictable and something we can cope with. We are less likely to take risks where we don't know the outcome, because we won't trust that we can handle it.

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Authored by Barbara Small She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and is also trained as a Life Coach.

EXPRESS YOURSELF BY BEING ASSERTIVE part 1

Have you always wanted to become more assertive - to speak up for yourself, express your feelings freely, say no when you want to and stop being a people-pleaser? If so, what has prevented you from doing so?

One obstacle many people have to behaving assertively is their beliefs about the acceptable ways to interact with other people. These thoughts become habitual and are strengthened by repeated patterns of thinking and the impact of past experiences. We tend to assume these beliefs are accurate, seldom stopping to question their validity.

When you develop positive beliefs about being assertive, you are more likely to engage in assertive behavior and to continue acting assertively in the face of criticism and resistance from others. You are less likely to feel guilty after you have expressed your feelings and opinions or asked for your needs to be met.

Assertive communication is direct (clear, concise and to the point), while the others are indirect (hinting, mixed messages and avoiding the point). Assertive behavior helps communication, while aggressive, passive and passive-aggressive behavior hinders it.

Being assertive means expressing ourselves without hinting, playing games, blaming, or hoping the other person reads our mind. We ask for what we want. We state it clearly and concisely. We say it in a respectful way. We know we can deal with the consequences of our statements, whatever they may turn out to be.

We learn our style of communication from the people around us and how they interact with each other. If a passive parent or an aggressive parent raised us, those are the styles that are most familiar to us and that we are most likely to duplicate. So, just as we learned how to be aggressive, passive or passive-aggressive in the past, we can learn to communicate assertively now.

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Authored by Barbara Small She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and is also trained as a Life Coach.

4 STEPS THAT WILL GUIDE YOU TO MAKING RIGHT DECISIONS

Have you ever faced a big decision and felt paralyzed with fear and torn about what to do? I have worked with many clients who have been faced with wonderful new opportunities and yet they felt overwhelmed by the task of determining how to make the best decision.

Big decisions are challenging when there are many factors to consider and when all the choices have positive potential. When faced with a big complex decision, it is important to break your decision making process into manageable steps and to use all of the tools that you have available.

The 4 Steps that will Guide You to Make the Right Decision

Step 1: Goal Setting Quadrant

Each quadrant of the Body Light Wellness Wheel has strategies to guide you and decision making tools to assist you. Depending on the complexity of your decision, you may need to complete one or two quadrants or all four quadrants. From the Goal Quadrant we learn about the power of writing things down. Consciously, you have the power of your mind to use logic and to analyze your options.

Review Your Goals
First, review the goals that you have written down in the past and determine which choice brings you closer to your goals. This step alone may be the key to helping you make the correct decision.

Create a Pros and Cons List
If reviewing your goals did not give you a sense of clarity about your decision, take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. At the top in the first column, write "Pros" and in the second column write "Cons". List out all of the Pros and Cons you can think of. Add up the number of Pros and the number of Cons. You may have 5 Pros and 3 Cons. Become aware of how the numbers of each of these columns makes you feel. If you feel relief at seeing the 5 Pros, you may have found the answer you were looking for.

Determine the Weighting Score of Your Pros and Cons List
If you feel no relief when seeing that the Pros list is larger than the Cons list and are still feeling uneasy, it is time to put a Weighting on each item on the lists. This weighting is either: 1, 2 or 3.

For the Pros, give a weighting of: For the Cons, give a weighting of:
1 -- If it is a Good Pro 1 -- If it is a Small Bad Con
2 -- If it is a Great Pro 2 -- If it is a Medium Bad Con
3 -- If it is an Amazing Pro 3 -- If it is a Big Bad Con

After you have weighted each item and add them up, you may discover that all of your 5 Pros have a weighting of 1, which adds up to 5. The list of the 3 Cons may show that they are all weighted at 3 and showing a total of 9. This may confirm what you knew to be true -- that even through there seem to be many Pros and there are only 3 Cons, the weighting of the Cons outweighs the benefits of the Pros.

Work with a Coach
One of the most powerful ways to accomplish your goals is to work with a trusted Personal Goals Coach, who keeps you accountable to attaining your dreams. Working with a Coach can allow you to face the decision making process more objectively, help you form the list of Pro's and Con's, and help you assess and review the weighting of the items.

A Coach also listens and can reflect back to you what they are hearing from you. A Coach acts as a mirror to help you gain clarity of your thoughts and hopes and fears. Although some people might be tempted to simply work with a friend or a family member for this step, there are dangers to be aware of. Well meaning friends can be jealous about your opportunities (even if it is unconscious) and caring family members can be fearful of change and you leaving them (even if it is unconscious) and these can play havoc in the reflecting back process. For important decisions, it is good to work with a trusted Coach who can be objective and help you in the process of uncovering the best decision for you.

Step 2: Self Discovery Quadrant

Dream Wisdom
From the Self Discovery Quadrant we learn about the power of analyzing the messages in our dreams. Perhaps you have heard the expression that "All the answers are inside of you" and yet you wonder where they might all be hiding. Your unconscious has wonderful wisdom that it tries to share with you nightly.

In the Dream Course we learn how to tap into that wisdom. When faced with a big decision, before you go to bed write your question in your journal and as you fall asleep keep repeating this question to yourself. In the morning, write your dreams down and look for potential answers that you have received.

Taking the Dream Course and working with a Dream Circle can really help you crack your own dream code so that the answers can benefit your decision making process.



Step 3: Healing

From the Healing Quadrant we learn about the power of healing. When navigating the muddy waters of the decision making process, it can be a very stressful time going through the process. Stress can add unwanted adrenaline to your body and confusion to your thought process. It is important to continue to give yourself good self care.

An excellent way to reduce stress is to have a massage. For those who have experienced the gentle approach of an Energy Treatment, they know that often when the body and mind are relaxed, insights are able to easily bubble up. These insights can come from both the client and the practitioner during the treatment. Discovering your answer to your big decision is very healing.

Step 4: Yoga

From the Yoga Quadrant we learn about the power of exercise. Going for a long run, walk or rollerblade, playing an intense game of squash or tennis, doing an invigorating yoga class, are all great ways to clear your mind.

By engaging in exercise, you reduce the stress in your body and increase your endorphins. During your workout, focus on the task at hand and let go of the angst around your decision making process. At the end of your workout, your mind will feel clearer and you may also receive an insight about your decision.


About the Author:
Janet Williams, the SelfGrowth.com Official Guide to Yoga, is a Certified Primary-Junior Teacher and Yoga Instructor. Her diverse experiences have provided her with insights designed to teach and assist others in their exciting journey of self-discovery. Janet is the owner of Body Light™, which focuses on physical and mental wellness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SELF HONESTY AND UNCONSCIOUS COMMITMENTS

Have you ever been really frustrated with yourself for not following through on a task or activity that you know would have given you great rewards?

Take the guy who says he wants to move his business up to the next level. He may have all kinds of ideas and visions for where he'd like the business to go; he might even write down a few lofty goals and do some research on the kind of resources he might need. BUT, if his unconscious mind, for whatever reason, is not ready to play ball, he will inevitably seek out and find all the excuses as to why progress cannot be made right now: It's not the right time; the market is not there; he's too busy; he's too tired; there's no support; his wife wouldn't like it... And the sad thing is that probably the only place where any of these excuses are actually true is in the story he's making up in his head.

He will only be able to stop obstructing himself when he is willing to admit that he is holding onto an unconscious commitment to keep his business exactly where it is right now.

Initially it can be a very uncomfortable thing to acknowledge that you may be unconsciously committed to avoiding the very thing you say you want. Some people start out by strenuously resisting this notion. The purpose of taking a radically honest stance is not to beat yourself up about not doing the best you can, but it's to uncover the mental blocks that are getting in the way of your success.

The really cute thing about the unconscious mind is that, despite its infinite wisdom, it really isn't very good at distinguishing between a real threat to our physical being and an imagined threat to our imagined being, or self-image -- otherwise known as the ego

Your subconscious is an extremely powerful force in your life and drives the majority of your behavior. But it craves familiarity! It likes your self image just the way it is and, left to its own devices, will organize your thoughts and actions to keep it that way. If you want to move past this you have to become aware of what's really going on inside and consciously decide to override this well intentioned protection system with deliberate thoughts and actions that are congruent with your desired outcome.

A WAY OUT
!

Anyone can overcome their unconscious commitments and unblock the flow of success in their life, but it takes two things: Radical self-honesty that the only obstacle you are facing is yourself, and a genuine willingness to be consciously committed to turning the situation around.

I encourage you to think about your own life and the areas where you may have unconscious commitments that stop you achieving the results you want. Here are some steps to overcome them (it's important that you let go of any self-judgment as you do this).

Identify the non-desirable recurring issues in your life. What do you find yourself consistently complaining about, either verbally to others or silently to yourself? Have you been blaming something or someone for holding you back
Create a conscious commitment to override the unconscious one

* I am committed to taking the best care of myself
* I am committed to making health and happiness the most important part of my life
* I am committed to finding creative ways to exercise even when I'm busy
* I am committed to being 100% responsible for myself

Repeat the new commFont sizeitment out loud over and over until it feels natural and a part of you. Do things to remind yourself of it, like putting post-its around your desk, your home or in your car.

When you catch yourself revisiting that old unconscious commitment, which you inevitably will from time to time, just bring yourself gently back by affirming your new commitment until you feel it in your body.



About the Author:

Paul Dalton is a Hypnotherapist and Personal Development Coach / Trainer with bags of experience in helping people change their lives for the better, combining skills from: hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, life coaching, leadership effectiveness, metaphysics, motivation techniques, and more.

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