Monday, May 26, 2008

The art of assertiveness to ease anxiety

The problem is non-assertive individuals often go out of their way to avoid a clash of heads, leaving them to stew in silence with their frustrations and anxiety. From time to time biting your tongue can be a shrewd move, but when it becomes the default behaviour there will be a loss confidence and self-esteem. This can also lead to a build up of frustration which can lead to feelings of anger and resentment.

Ironically, keeping in these feelings and frustrations can manifest itself in aggressive, which is possibly the worst way of trying to reassert yourself. Approaching a situation with aggression tends to fuel aggression from all parties involved, as everyone tries to stand their corner. Learning to be assertive without aggression is the way forward...

The objective of asserting yourself this way is to find solutions to conflicts where both parties are satisfied with the agreed outcome. This is very different from being trying to assert yourself aggressively, because here you're not only respecting your own needs, but you are also taking into consideration other peoples perspectives too. When you do this, dialogue about any problems becomes a lot easier. So the first step is to put yourself in the other persons shoes and try and understand their position. Doing so may give you fresh insight into why they are acting in a certain way.

If you are feeling emotional then that is probably not the best time to broach the subject. Instead let it settle for a little while, then bring up the subject. You will achieve a lot more approaching any situation with a cool rational head, rather than with frustration and resentment. If needs be sleep on the problem and come back to the issue with a fresh head.

When you find yourself in a calm rational state, approach that person to discuss the problem. Begin by empathizing with their perspective: "Jim I know you're bogged under with this project..." Then go on to explain your issue. When you do so avoid generalizations and judgments, try to stick to clear facts and try and get their point of view: "...could you help me understand why...", and then explain your issue. Be careful with the tone of your voice and the phrasing of your problem, yet be as specific as possible. The trick is to try and get the other party on your side, and to do this you need to be on their too. It's a two-way interaction, give and take. In most situations it is unreasonable to ask for change if you too aren't willing to change too, if needed.

Now that you've explained the situation, in calm non-judgmental manner, and let the other person know you understand where they are coming from, begin dialogue to resolve the issue. First, listen to the other persons comments and see if any of those will resolve the issue, but acknowledge their suggestions even if they aren't the solution your were looking. Also be sure to offer up a number of your own solutions to remedy the situation. Be firm but flexible in your negotiations, try and find the balance between being focusing on your needs and considering the other person's position. The ideal solution works for everyone, but obviously this isn't always possible. However the closer you can get to an ideal solution the more satisfied all concerned will feel.

Once you have arrived at a solution you all agree on, formally restate that agreement. Make sure it is crystal clear to everyone. If you have to, get it down in writing. Finally thank the person, but do not try and negotiate anything else this time as you risk weakening the gains you've just made. Finally remember, often you will need to compromise and find that middle ground. But you can do so knowing that you asserted yourself and looked for the best possible solutions, you never know you might just arrive at an ideal solution!

Article by.. Robert Good is author of AnxietyZap, a complete solution for overcoming Whether you suffer from anxiety attacks or more generalized anxiety AnxietyZap will help you overcome anxiety without the needs for ineffective therapy or costly drugs.

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