Assertiveness is a vital asset for life. Not only will we avoid many problems in interpersonal relationships, but will also allow us to lose less patience and live in a more balanced and relaxed way. In fact, Anthony Robbins said on one occasion (our way of communicating with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our life). Assertiveness is the ability to assert our rights clearly and adequate without being too passive or too aggressive, while respecting the rights of others.
But even if it looks very simple, putting it into practice is a bit more complicated. In fact, most of the people around us are not assertive, or they are to a small extent. Very often the reason lies in their childhood. If we grew up in a home where emotional neglect was practiced, where emotions were ignored or even punished, we did not have the opportunity to develop assertiveness.
The 10 assertive rights
1. You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts and emotions, and assume the responsibility of these.
2. You have the right not to offer justifications or explanations for your decisions.
3. You have the right to decide whether to take responsibility for solving the problems of others.
4. You have the right to change your mind.
5. You have the right to make mistakes and take the consequences.
6. You have the right to say I do not know.
7. You have the right to act independently of the good will of others.
8. You have the right to make illogical decisions.
9. You have the right to say I do not understand.
10. You have the right to say I do not care.
However, people whose parents thought that expressing emotions was something negative, they probably are not aware of their rights. If your parents ignored or even punished your emotional expressions you have received the message that your feelings, emotions and needs do not count anything.
So maybe you often repeat phrases like (do not say negative things), (do not let others know how you feel or what you really think) or (you do not have to disturb). These phrases are surely coming from your parents’ talk, but they have so deeply rooted in your unconscious that they still continue to determine your behavior, even if you are an adult.
Emotional neglect is the inability to respond adequately to the emotional needs of children. In fact, one of the main tasks of parents is to validate the emotions of their children, and to teach them to channel them in the most appropriate way. Parents are the children’s emotional model, they are the people they look for and seek support when they are disoriented.
If parents are unable to recognize those emotions or when they appear, they minimize them with phrases like (there is no reason to cry) or (nothing happened), they will be telling the child that her reaction, quite normal and comprehensible, is inadequate. As a result, the child will not know what to do, so he will become an adult who will not trust his emotions and instinct, as they have taught him to hide and ignore them.