Monthly Archives: February 2017

Assertive

Executing Assertive Communication

A friend recommended a book for me, “Getting to Commitment”, I bought it out of sufferance not thinking I have commitment issues, until my best friend laughed hysterically at that comment.  So read the book I did….and…

This book is life changing.  Whilst there were many things that were resonating, one that was a true epiphany was letting yourself be known.   Your self being thoughts, feelings, opinions and in doing so having courage to allow others to do the same.

It was my normal behaviour to keep my inner thoughts, feelings and opinions to myself letting them simmer until I would “explode”.  Then the rare time I did bare my soul and speak up, it cost me what I thought was a close friend.Communication

This only added to my hesitancy to share my thoughts, feelings and knowledge because I am scared if I speak my truth I will loose another friend/s.  However as difficult as it is for me I realise that if speaking my truth (with love and respect) costs me a friendship, so be it.

Noting this is a two way street which meant whilst I don’t have to agree or like what others say it is important to also give them the space to “be known”.

Assertiveness, in communication, is having the confidence and courage to speak up for your self and/or others. To express your feelings, opinions and needs in an honest, calm, positive and appropriate way.

To be assertive means to treat yourself, your needs, your thoughts and feelings as equal to others.   The purpose of which is to ensure that your rights and needs are met, as well as ensuring your boundaries are maintained and that you are not being taken advantage of.  All whilst respecting and consider the needs of others, however not at the expense of your own.

For most being assertive has not been encouraged and therefore it is not a skill which comes naturally to them.  However with self awareness and practice it is a skill than anyone can master.

Reason people aren’t assertive

Up until recent times the adage was that “children should be seen and not heard”.  Along with this most were taught to put others before themselves, as this is the “right” thing to do.  Whilst it is a wonderful quality to honour and respect others, never would I encourage this to be done at the expense of one’s self.

Also most people have an innate desire to be liked.  Fearing the rejection of another, they reject themselves rather than displease another.  There is a perception and assumption that when we voice our own wants, needs or opinions it will cause unpleasantness.  Which it is usually does; 100% of the time with ourselves.   As to whether it will with another; maybe or maybe not.

In the long run the result of this behaviour is that you’ll feel taken advantage.  Which results in you becoming resentful. Paradoxially by not asserting ourselves we end up jeoparising our relationships.

Clarifying assertiveness v’s Agressiveness

As explained above being assertive is being respectful to your wants and needs as well as being mindful of another rights and needs.  It is communicating this in a way which is respectful of another.

Whereas when someone is being aggressive they tend to have their wants and needs met in a disrespectful way which violates the needs of others.  Typically their behaviour is hostile, demanding, blaming and punishing.  They may get what they want via “threats”, sarcasm, catty comments, gossiping and perhaps even via physical means.

Ways to assert yourself

  1. Fundamental Assertion:   Using “I want” or “I feel” statements we express our wants, needs, feelings, beliefs and /or opinions.
  1. Empathic Assertion:   This statement incorporates your sensitivity of the other person’s feelings and/or situation followed by your feeling and/or needs and wants.
    For example:  “I know that going to the movies is really important to you and whilst I also want to see the movie I’d prefer to do it on the weekend when I can really relax and enjoy it with you.”
  1. Magnification Assertion:   This technique is typically used when you have used one or both of the previous methods and the person continues of disregard  your needs and wants.
    When using this method you’ll become increasingly firm.  Lowering / deepening your voice can also assist at this stage.  Usually you will also state a consequence should the behaviour continue.    Please know if you use this method and give a consequence you must be willing to follow through with the consequence.
    For example:  “John, I’ve explained previously when  you speak to me like that it upsets me.  I feel quite disrespected and that you don’t care for my feelings.  If you continue to speak to me like that I am going to hang up the phone”.
  1. I-Language Assertion:  This method can support you to constructively express your feelings when a situation is leaving you extremely upset, frustrated, even to the point of anger.  It involves a 3-part statement:
  • When you do . . . (describe the behaviour).
  • The effects are . . . (describe how the behaviour concretely affects you).
  • I’d prefer. . . (describe what you want).

The structure of the statement endeavours to seek a solution to the situation rather than blame another and/or get caught up in the emotion.

For Example:  “When you didn’t buy the groceries like you said you would, I couldn’t make the kids lunches.  I feel hurt and angry with you.   Next time, I’d like you to follow through when you agree to do something like that.”

Tips on being more Assertive

1. Have courage and bravery along with other values and beliefs which support you in asserting yourself.  Give yourself permission to say “no”, to make mistakes and to ask for help.

2. Don’t allow others to interrupt you, ask them to wait to share their viewpoints until you have finished.

3. Be aware of and cease self-limiting behaviours, such nodding too much, tilting your head, or not having eye contact.

4. Be decisive when you say no.  Don’t explain why and don’t be overly apologetic.

5. Use “I want” or “I feel” statements. Acknowledge the other person’s situation or feelings followed by a statement in which you stand up for your rights. E.g. “I know you’re X, but I feel…”

6. Use “I” language declarations (see #4 in ways to be assertive).

7. Practice effective listening skills.  Listen to what is and isn’t being said.  Ask questions if you need to clarify and know it is OK to communicate your observations.  E.g. “when you say x, I notice you are seeming angry”

8. Practice!   With the help of friends and family members you trust, practice being assertive. Start with less anxiety-evoking situations and build up your assertiveness muscle.   If there are situations you aren’t assertive, consider where you could have done better and what strategy you’ll implement the next time.

 

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Visibility

Visibility: Emerging from the Shadows

A little over two years ago I left a less than healthy relationship (every girl usually has at least one!).  A relationship that had sucked me dry of confidence, self belief and worth. One which left me wanting to decrease my visibility in the world, and more specifically to men, so I unconsciously decided to put on weight.

My weight gain was a way to hide myself because it seemed “safe” however it was also an indication that I there were underlining aspects to address.  It also became more evident that as I started to build my business not only was I hiding myself away from men, I was also hiding myself away from women – the very people I wanted to help.

Weight gain is one way to do in-visibility, another is to hide behind images other than your own; being angry; being despondent and/or failing to socialise.

Visibility; without it you won’t get the relationship you want, the job you desire or clients and thus finances you require for your business to succeed.  In fact your success in any endeavour will be moderate unless you allow yourself to be seen.

Visibility requires courage, as Benjamin Mee said “all you need is 20secs…”.  When you have such courage and give yourself permission to be visible you now show up in life.  Showing up means you remove the masquerade to be vulnerable and allow transparency.

Such transparency results in you being a participator rather than a spectator.  You make a choice to be honest, to be authentic which means  you have made the choice to let your true essence/s to be revealed.

Reasons we remain invisible

Rejection
Not many people like rejection, however that is only because they perceive rejection as
Visibilitynegative.  Rejection is symbolic of many positive things, such as:  the need to love who you are; a sign that you are on the wrong path; an indication that you were settling for less than you deserve or that the universe holds for you.

Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” What Marcus Aurelius is teaching us is that when you choose not to be rejected; when you chose to see it as nothing more than an action of another then you cannot be hurt / rejected.

If fear of rejection has been an issue for you then consider time you have been rejected and in hindsight how being rejected proved to be beneficial.

Confidence
When we lack confidence we shy and back away from opportunities and impede ourselves from reaching our full potential.  When simplified confidence comes down to believing in yourself.  Having certainty about who you are and what you have to offer.  When you are secure in what you offer others and who you are then you have confidence.

Whilst there are external things you can use to lift your confidence (make up, clothes, compliments) it’s a trait that is more powerful when it comes from within you.

Does lacking confidence resonate with you?  Listen to what your inner voice is saying and politely correct it.  Find affirmations that work for you and embed them at a deep level.

Overwhelm
The person who has kept themselves unseen has most likely done this for a period of time.  Thus to remove that invisibility cloak can be very overwhelming.  Even for the person who has had the cloak partially on, it can seem easier to remain in the back ground.  However remember being in the background is holding you back.

Feeling overwhelmed is linked to various things such as:  placing high expectations on ourselves; perfection pressure; a need to control situations and/or making matters to be bigger and more complex than they are.

When having visibility is overwhelming for you, then start small.  Break it down into sizeable chunks.  Consider being visible like building a muscle; small repetitive actions will build up your resilience and you are being seen.

Ways to get visible

Visibility does not mean you have to hire a loud speaker and platform, although it would definitely be breaking some barriers if you did!  Here are some other suggestions for you which might feel much easier:

Smile
Such a simple, cost effective way to connect with people!  A sincere smile can make the difference to someone else’s day – as well as your own!

Share
Sharing is about divulging your thoughts, passions, fascinations and what you stand for.  Which can be done over a coffee, on social media, a blog or via groups and gatherings.

Sharing can be done via writing, photo’s and/or videos.  It can be done via comments, images, quotes or presentations which reflect who you are.  When we have a question, thought or idea you can count on someone else having the same or similar train of thought.  So know that anything you communicate there will be at least one person resonating with you!

What is something you can share that you’ve been hiding?  and how can you share that in a way that feels safe for you?

Go Outside
Physically and metaphysically going outside is empowering.  It is the physical aspect of consciously taking yourself out into the world and metaphysically and/or unconsciously telling Visibilitythe world you are ready to be seen!

Being outside is also a way to get grounded.  When you are grounded we are centred within your self and have a great resilience to stress.

Going outside could be going for a walk, picnic, to the beach, to a cafe to read or work, perhaps going to the shops.  It doesn’t have to be catching up with anyone specifically yet it does mean being in places where there are other people!

Where will you go today which takes you outside into the world?

Connect with people
Often when you’ve been playing the invisible game there will be friends, colleagues or associates whom you haven’t connected with for a while.   There could be other reasons for this however you choosing to cocoon yourself will have contributed.

Some of these people will fall into the category of natural attrition and you won’t have any desire to connect with them.  Others you will feel enthusiastic about re-connecting and the ones you are meant to reconnect with will be genuinely happy to hear from you.

Make a list of people who you haven’t touched base with in a while.  Decide how you will make contact (phone, email, text, facebook), then make contact!

Visibility engages your soul and lights it up.  You become magnetising not just to others yet also to the universe to deliver what it is you are wanting.  Life becomes just that bit more enjoyable.

Please be aware that when you get visible you may not be everybody’s cup of tea and that is absolutely OK.  Because as per Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s suggestion that we can only maintain a certain number of relationships, so we might as well make sure they are relationships that count!

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Rejection

Rejection; invite and encourage it!

You, me, everyone at some stage (and many at every stage) of their life has been rejected.  Rejection started the moment that authority figure in your life said “no” to you, which for most of us was from a very young age.

I don’t know many people who like being told “no”, a word which equates to being rejected.  Perhaps it is because of the connection made to that word.  At a young age when you are told “no” it meant not getting, or doing, what you want.  However sometimes not getting or doing what you want is a VERY good thing.

Rejection is not only about not getting what you want.  Rejection is also when you dismiss yourself or another; an idea and even an emotion.   Rejection isn’t fun and it certainly doesn’t feel good; whether you are the rejector or the rejectee.

The reason rejection doesn’t feel good is because of the way it is perceived.  If you can alter your perception to see the benefits of rejection, you will realise it IS indeed a very good thing.

Benefits of rejection

Tong zhi bu tong Bu tong Zhi tong
In Oriental medicine there is a saying; “Tong zhi bu tong Bu tong zhi tong”.  Which translates to  “Where there is free flow, there is no pain, where there is pain, there is no free flow”.

If rejection is causing you pain then it is a sign you are resisting the flow of life.  A sign you are stagnating and opposing the flow of where life needs you to go and/or whom it needs you to go with.

Alternatively if you accept that the reason the rejection happened is because your life is flowing in a different direction than you thought then such pain resides or simple doesn’t exist.

So….Let go and let flow!

Love who you are – ALL parts
When you feel rejected it’s an indicator that there is a part of you that isn’t feeling loved or worthy.  Or if related to a person it can be that this person has aspects of themselves they don’t love or perhaps they aren’t feeling worthy.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you inferior without your consent”.  When you love who you are and that means ALL part of who you are, the good and the not so good, then you can’t be rejected.

Know that in the good there is “negative aspects” and in the bad there is “positive aspects”.  When you see both sides of the equation in the one, then you become balanced about the person and/or situation and you achieve harmony.

In Neale Donald Walsh’s story “The Little Soul” it reminds us that we are all born from the light and this beautiful light resides within us.  Connect with that beautiful light and let that light attract the situation and/or person that is right for you.

Course Correction
If you are being rejected then it means you are trying.  If you are trying then just in that alone you are being successful!  Trying also means that you are moving forward, you are taking a step forward on your life course / route.

Therefore when you are trying and you experience rejection it simple means that your planned route requires an adjustment to ensure you will reach the right destination.   This adjustment is leading you to something or someone better.

Also perhaps you were thinking to “small” and limiting yourself.  Thus rejection is the Universe’s way to remind and/or advise you to aim higher and for what you truly deserve!

What now?

It’s not that rejection won’t ever sting, however it’s how you view and utilise that rejection is what matters.  You don’t need a “why” to do that, in fact most people get so hung up on the “why” that they anchor to it and to the past.

I urge you to use any and all rejection to learn, grow and flow.  So “anchor’s away”, learn to love the person or situation for what it stood for and focus on the destination you want to arrive at!

If you still find it hard to let go of your rejection/s then book an appointment with us via:  http://www.theinnersageaustralia.com/appointment/ .  Mention this article for a 10% discount.

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Healthy Relationships

How to determine healthy relationships

It takes courage to stop the merry-go-round and honestly analyse our relationships.  Those close interactions with family, friends, colleagues and our partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, wife and/or husband).  And if you find yourself reading this it is likely that you are questioning the health of one or more of those relationships.

At times it seems as plain as day that the relationship is unhealthy.   However there is a difference between unhealthy interactions and unhealthy connections.  So if you believe your relationship can be saved, if you hold out hope that things will improve, here is a method for  genuinely determining that.

The old adage “it takes two to tango” definitely applies to relationships.  Both parties participate in the dynamic, thus there cannot be any blame gaming.  In order to preserve themselves, one or both of the due will apportion blame to the other party.  Making the other person “wrong” so that they can feel “right” about their own behaviour.

The first step in determining the health of your relationship is to take ownership for how you are specifically contributing to the current dynamic.  Now that doesn’t mean that you behaviour is necessarily negative, however what it does mean is that whatever you are or aren’t doing lends to allowing the other’s behaviour.

An common example of how people contribute is by being the the “passive” person in the duo.  They often participate by not speaking up and not reinforcing their boundaries.  Check out our post regarding boundaries: http://www.theinnersageaustralia.com/?s=boundaries

Stipulating our boundaries is a way for a person to express what is right (and wrong) for them; what they are willing and NOT willing to accept.  Such boundaries often include behaviours from your partner which are and aren’t ok for you.

This may be your contribution to the dynamic and if so take time to consider what your boundaries are.  If not, then how are you specifically contributing?

Another common theme I have found with people who are in unhealthy relationships is that they often put the other person first and before their own needs.  They give so much that they find themselves being drained and often to the point where they are depleted.

In some cases this giving soul feels obligated to giving in order to keep the relationship.  They often have self sacrificed to the point that they have lost their identity.  Because their needs are not being met in the relationship by their partner or by them self.

So the second step in this process is to determine the equality of the give/take scenario in your relationship.  How much do you give in your relationship OR how much do you take? Is it even or is there an imbalance in this equation.  Also what part of  your identity have you given up to keep the relationship?  What part of your soul needs to be reclaimed?

In his book, Men are from Mars Women are from Venus, John Gray advises there are six needs that men and women need to be fulfilled in order to feel loved.  When our needs are not being met we don’t feel loved AND we as our cup is nRelationshipsow filled, we are not able to love to our full capacity.

The third aspect of this process is now to determine which of your needs are not being met.

Also which of your partner’s needs could you be mindful of meeting?  If a woman in a heterosexual relationship, could you genuinely admire your partner more?  Could you tell him what he does that you appreciate?

Once you have gotten clarity about your relationship in that you:

  • understand your contribution to your relationship’s current status
  • have clarified what your boundaries are and any behaviours that are not acceptable to you in a relationship
  • are clear on the amount of give/take that is happening
  • know which of your needs are not being met and which ones you are not meeting

you’re now in a position to make the changes you need in order for it to be healthy.  So one thing to be aware of….

When the dynamic of a person and a relationship changes you may find the other party doesn’t like these changes.  You may find that they impede the changes by refusing to participate or behaving in such a way that keeps the status quo.

This is usually because they feel safe with you playing the role that you’ve been playing.  Most likely the way things have been makes them feel important and good about themselves.  Communication plays such an important part at this stage.  Explaining how and why things need to change, the benefits to them as well as yourself.

In the instance this is a healthy relationship your other party will understand and they will be willing to work with you to make the changes.  It doesn’t necessarily mean things will go smoothly however they will be willing to try.

On the other hand if this is an unhealthy relationship you will find the changes you desire obstructed and they will show restraint.  Now this doesn’t mean you “exit right”, what it does mean that you need to help your other party understand that you are serious about the changes and the consequences of such changes not happening.

If you go to this step, of stipulating consequences you MUST ensure you follow through.  It takes courage to step up and it takes even more courage to follow through.  However remember you would have given them a fair opportunity to change.  You would have explained the importance to you of the reasons this change is important.

In the event you don’t follow through then it adds more dysfunction to the relationship.  As in the fable “The boy who cried wolf”, the other party won’t believe you even when you have been pushed past your limit.

Relationships are about growth; either people grow together or they grow apart.  If your current friend, partner, work colleague is not willing to grow with you and support you in your growth then know there is someone else out there for you who will.

When you are no longer willing to accept dysfunction and dramatic relationships you raise your self love and respect.   You raise our vibration to let the universe know the type of relationship you are willing to accept.  When you trust your self and in the Universe you will attract that person who is on the same level as you.

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