Top 10 Assertive Rights For Work & Life
Assertive to one person can be interpreted as aggressive to another. But we can’t move in this world anticipating what every person thinks of what we do, every moment that we do it. That’s called paranoia.
I am drawn to this definition from therapist Bill Snow, “If you ignore another person’s rights, you are being aggressive. Otherwise you aren’t.” The following are his list of assertive rights that I go back to whenever I need a filter for the chaos around me.
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1. You have a right to make mistakes.
That doesn’t mean it is OK to blame others for them — it is important for you to take responsibility for your mistakes yourself. Blaming them on others is a form of aggression.
2. You have a right to change your mind.
Otherwise, you’d be stuck with your mistakes forever.
3. You have a right to be illogical in making decisions.
Whether they are aware of it or not, this is a right many people exercise regularly!
4. You have the right to judge your own behavior, your thoughts, and your emotions.
No one else, regardless of who they are or how close they may be to you, can know what it is like to live in your life-space. Therefore, no one else is in a position to judge your behavior, thoughts, or emotions with your perspective. Keep in mind, though, that this means you have an obligation to take responsibility for your actions.
Note that in certain situations we extend to others some limited rights to judge our behavior. When we enter into a work agreement with an employer, for example, we agree that the employer has the right to judge our job-performance behavior. Or, again, when we marry, it is generally accepted that we extend to our spouse the right to judge some aspects of our behavior — particularly whether we conform to the principle of sexual exclusivity. Note, too, that law-enforcement people have the right to judge anyone’s behavior if it is unlawful. So, if we break the law, the fuzz may come after us.
5. Just as you have a right to be the judge of your behavior, you have a right to offer no explanations, reasons, or justifications for how you behave.
Things probably weren’t that way when you were little. It may have been essential to explain yourself. But if you gave this right up long ago, it is now time to reclaim it.
6. You have the right to decide whether or not you will take responsibility for developing solutions to other people’s problems.
This means you have a right to say, “no.” It is true that others may want your help. They may even resent it if you decide not to provide assistance. Nonetheless, management of your time, resources, talents, and energy is up to you. Invest yourself in ways that will do you and others the most good.