Join Chris Croft for an in-depth discussion in this video Identifying your current mindset, part of Learning to Be Assertive.
- Now we've been talking about rights. Whether you stand up for your own rights or not really depends on whether you believe that you deserve to be able to stand up for your rights, are you okay about yourself. And similarly, whether you stand up for other people's rights and respect their views depends on whether you believe that they are ok enough to deserve to have those rights. This idea of being okay is essential to the subject of assertiveness. The word "okay" is quite an important word to define. We're not talking about believing that you're perfect, or believing that you're better than everybody else.
You've just gotta believe that you're okay as a person. You're good enough to deserve to have rights and to stand up for them. It's important to think about, are you okay? Do you think that you're generally all right as a person? And also other people. Is your starting point with other people that they're generally okay or not. It's not gonna be good for relationships if your starting position is that other people are generally not okay. We can draw a little 2x2 matrix of this. On the vertical axis we're gonna have whether you're okay or not.
So we're gonna have you're okay and you're not ok on the vertical axis. On the horizontal axis we're gonna have how you feel about other people. Do you generally believe that other people are okay, or that they're not okay. If you look at the combinations, clearly the top left is where we want to be for the best results in any relationship. The problems start to happen in the other boxes. This top left one, where we believe we're okay and they are, that's where assertiveness is and that's where we want to be. But what about the top right? Where you believe that you're okay, but the other person is not.
This is the aggressive box, and there are people who naturally gravitate to this box. Their starting position is, "The world is stupid." I've got an example of this somebody told me about in a hospital. There was a doctor there who had touched a patient, and he was washing his hands after doing that. When he looked around there were no towels, so he pulled the curtain down off the wall, dried his hands on the curtain, and just threw it away on the floor and said, "Nurse, there's no towels!" And that's really aggressive. His belief is that he's the only person with a brain in that place, and the rest of them are all idiots; That's really aggressive.
Not a good starting point. That's gonna harm the results that that doctor gets. If he needs help from other people they're not gonna be on his side, it's not a good starting point. The nurses on the other hand in that situation, they were pushed into the bottom left, into the "I'm not okay" box. They were submissively hiding behind one of the beds probably, thinking, "Oh no, we've probably upset the doctor." And you might think, "Not many people are gonna be in the I'm not okay box." But actually it's very easy to be in the not okay box.
Do you like the sight of yourself in a mirror? Do you like the sound of your voice on an answer phone message? And people are often not even okay about how they look or how they sound. Let alone all of the other intricacies of their personality. The thing is that the world is trying to push us down into this not okay box. You look at women's magazines, they've got beautiful people, airbrushed, looking perfect. And there's pressure on us to look like the women on the cover, or the man on the cover of men's magazines increasingly as well.
So it's very important to believe that you're okay and to have, maybe a mantra, which is, "Nobody's gonna push me into the not okay box. "I'm okay as a person. "I'm not perfect, but I'm good enough, "and the world is not gonna tell me that I'm not. "I'll decide whether I'm okay or not." Now there is one more box that I haven't mentioned: The I'm not okay and the world is also not okay box. This box is unsustainable, you can't live in this box. Apparently teenagers quite often start in the bottom left, feeling not okay, maybe they're spotty, they can't get a girlfriend, everything's too difficult.
And then as they start to lose respect for their parents and discover their parents don't know all the answers either they start to move across into that bottom right box. But of course the problem is then you've got nothing to cling to at all, nothing's all right. The theory goes that you have to come out either by going upwards into the aggressive box of, "(scoffs) Everybody's a fool, they don't understand me. "They've got no taste in cloths, "they've got no musical taste." Or they have to go back into the depressed box of, "Oh, I'm just not good enough." But hopefully whichever box they come out into they will eventually find their way up into that top left box of believing that they're not too bad, really, and the world isn't too bad really, and they can get on with life.
I'd like you to just think about yourself, which is your home box. Do you tend to be a bit too not okay about yourself, or do you tend to assume that other people are not okay? Hopefully you're safely in that top left box of believing that you're okay and that everyone else is. Now remember: You decide whether you're okay. Nobody else can push you into that not okay box.
- Identifying your current mindset
- Avoiding the passive-aggressive trap
- Reducing negative emotions
- Handling everyday putdowns
- Learning to disagree by questioning
- Knowing the most effective words to use