How many times you got the feeling that you speak with somebody and that person doesn’t understands you and your needs? How many times you got angry with friends, family or your soul mate, when they did something you didn’t like and you started to feel that they don’t care or they don’t love you enough because they don’t respect your wishes? Did you ever think that maybe you didn’t express your needs and your wishes effectively?
As I mentioned in the previous post we need to learn assertive communication in order to improve our relationships, we need to learn to express ourselves and to respect other’s people choices too. But before we start with assertive communication we should speak about communication.
Communication is the interchange of thoughts, opinions or information by speech, writing or signs. Read carefully the statement again, which do you think is the most important word? In my opinion “interchange” is the most important. Therefore, is very important to express your opinions and needs to other people so they can understand you and as long it is an interchange you have to listen to other’s people needs and opinions, to understand and respect them. There are 3 types of communication types:
- Aggressive communication:
This type of communication is a method of expressing needs without taking in to account the welfare of others. The persons who communicate like this are perceived as selfish and unwilling to compromise. I will give you an example:
Let’s say Mark is discussing with Peter, they are having different opinions about cars, Mark instead of listening Peter’s opinion calls him stupid straight away and refuses to listen to his arguments.
The aggressive communication is usually linked to desire to hurt others or to revenge and it might reflect poor emotional development.
- Passive communication:
This type of communication is a form of expression that is ineffective and maladaptive. The people who are using this type of communication are afraid of confrontation and they don’t feel to have the right of making their wishes and desires known.
Now let’s take Peter’s reaction, from the same example. Even if he knows he is right and Mark doesn’t have any right to call him stupid because he has a different point of view, he starts feeling guilty and instead of defending himself he agrees with Mark and on top of that he tells him he is sorry, only to avoid the confrontation.
This type of communication can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, depression and helplessness.
Usually the type of persons like Mark and Peter they feel attracted to each other and they are making a good “team” in a funny way 🙂
- Assertive communication:
Donald’s Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as: “a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.”
Now if we go back to Mark and Peter, how do you think they should react and which is the correct result of their conversation?
Assertive communication involves respect for the boundaries of oneself and others and it should lead to cooperation in order to fulfill the needs and wants, also being assertive means to mix the compromise with the negotiation. In order to change your life, your relationships, to gain confidence and to improve your communication you should try to use the assertive rules as a guidance.
THE ASSERTIVE RULES:
- I have the right to be my own judge when I say and when I do something.
- I have the right to express my needs and to accept NO as an answer.
- I have the right to take decisions and to be responsible for my choice.
- I have the right to be independent.
- I have the right to behave as I want and to not give any explanations for my own behaviour.
- I am not responsible for finding solutions to other’s people problems.
- I have the right to change my mind.
- I have the right to make mistakes.
- I have the right to say “I don’t know”.
- I have the right to say “I don’t understand”.
- I have the right to say “I don’t care”.
- I have the right to have “healthy” relationships without relying on others opinions, approval and confirmations.
- I have the right to intimacy.
- I have the right to say “Yes” or “No” without feeling guilty.
- I have the right to stand up for myself and for what I want.
- I have the right to be treated with respect.
- The OTHER PEOPLE are having the same rights as YOU!
Being assertive also means not tobe manipulated by others and their “good” intentions, because in the end you should be the only responsible for your behavior and nobody could know your needs better than you and also nobody could know which is the best decision you can take, not even you. 🙂 Because of this you are allowed to make mistakes.
Is not enough to follow the rules, we have to add to this the acceptance. We need to accept that people have different needs, different points of view and everybody sees the World differently, but this can’t stop us to be friends and to have healthy relationships. We need to accept that some people are introverts and they like to be left alone sometimes and some people are extroverts and they like to go out, to party and to meet new people. We also need to accept that everybody evolves in a different rhythm and that is a waste of time trying to bring somebody on the same level like us.
According to the psychologists 93% of the communication process is not the words we use and it takes more than words to express ourselves and our needs.
- 7% represents the words we speak
- 38% represents how we speak the words: our voice tone, and volume
- 55% represents non verbal body language, gestures and facial expressions
To make it easy for you, here you have The Triple A Formula:
As a conclusion: it’s not enough to use words in order to communicate, we have to be aware of our voice tone, body language and facial expressions. If we add to this the assertive rules and the acceptance we have the perfect recipe for having good relationships and improving our life. We have to get to know ourselves better, to find out which type of communication we are using, we have to be aware of our mistakes and bit by bit to start following the assertive rules. It might take time but I promise you it worths to try! We have to accept that life is beautiful and acceptance is freedom and by being free we can have a life more than beautiful.
I wish you happy communications! 🙂