I feel I’m definitely improving at this. I’m feeling more naturally assertive, through practice. It seems that when you come across as an assertive person, people are much less likely to try and take advantage of you than if you come across as being more retiring or very flexible. Maybe this is just common sense, but it’s something that I’ve discovered for myself recently.
Recently, a private student of mine forgot that she wasn’t going to be available for her usual lesson so I ended up arriving at her house to find out that she wasn’t there. I had no problem asking her mum to pay me the money anyway.
Also I requested a pay rise at work a couple of months ago and they gave it to me, exactly the amount that I asked for!
I’ve also been practicing zen and the art of ‘I’ll think about it’. In the past I’ve always felt put on the spot when people asked me to do things and usually said yes because I felt flustered and pressured to give an immediate answer. Now I’ve realized that in most situations I can tell people I’ll think about it and let them know. Then I can take the time to decide properly if this is something I really want to do. This is really helping me to develop stronger boundaries.
Yay! I’ve got all my private students to pay me an extra 10 shekels per lesson to cover my travel costs. It was easy. I guess it’s the sort of thing that people can’t really refuse to do. And my rates are pretty low anyway, it would make them look really stingy if they refused!
I’m also getting better at organizing my time with my own convenience in mind. I’ve always been so worried about putting people out… and then I’d go and put myself out and get into these situations where I was running around like a maniac, contorting myself into all sorts of uncomfortable situations so I could meet everyone else’s requests. I haven’t been doing that lately. When a student’s mum asked a couple of days ago if I could come at a different time on a different day (because the current time was a bit inconvenient for them) I just said no. Because to try and do it some other time would have made things very inconvenient for me, and since when was their comfort more important than mine?!
I’m not doing so great with the ‘not-being-scared-to-ask-questions’ thing. There was an incident recently when I should have asked but didn’t want to look stupid and I assumed I’d be able to find out the information by myself anyway. And then I couldn’t. So I had to ask anyway (but I asked someone else who I know doesn’t think I’m stupid!). I should have just asked in the first place though. Next time I will ask!
And I’m also making a point of keeping in my mind the necessity of informing my students I’m raising the cost of lessons. I have this forboding that I’ll accidentally-on-purpose forget so I don’t have to feel uncomfortable about asking them. Grrr! I will get what I deserve! And another sandwich!
Many of my other goals could also come under the ‘be more assertive’ heading. But all of the goals that I think are too little to be goals in themselves are gonna come under here.
I’m not naturally assertive. I’m naturally more of a passive receptive person. I have moved from living in a culture where people are usually more polite and reserved, to living in a culture where people are not necessarily polite or reserved! People say what they think and expect others to do the same. I don’t think I’ll ever be a person who simply says what she thinks without regard to the feelings of others, and I don’t want to be. What I want is to be able to stand up for myself when verbally or psychologically attacked.
Also, I want to have the courage to ask questions in order to get all the info I need, and not be afraid of looking stupid.
I also want to value my own needs and wants more and make sure I get what I deserve, not settle for less.
And I want to feel more free to assert my opinions and feelings about things and to speak up instead of keeping quiet.
- If people are being rude to me I will tell them to stop.
- If someone is implying that they don’t approve of me I should either ignore it and not let it bother me, or I should make it clear that at the end of the day I will do things my way. I will remind the person that everyone is different and there is not necessarily a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to do things. Hey, we could even get into an interesting discussion about the the myriad beautiful ways different people choose to live their lives!
- I will have the courage to ask questions, in order to get all the information I need.
- I will make sure I get paid enough for the work I do. I’m going to request that my students start paying my travel costs by increasing my fees by 10 shekels per hour. If a student forgets a lesson I will request that I get paid anyway.
- I will feel free to assert my opinions and feelings instead of just keeping quiet.