Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stressless Saturday

I recently had a client that just couldn’t say no. She struggled with family members, co-workers…even her pets. Her teenaged kids were walking all over her, her co-workers dumped all their work on her desk, and the dogs wouldn’t stay off the furniture!

As we started talking about assertiveness she looked at me like I was an alien from a far away planet. She just couldn’t see herself saying no. To her it seemed like too much work, and she worried that people wouldn’t like her. My question to her was, “Do people like you now, or do they just like that they can use you?” Ouch. I could tell that the wheels were turning and she was beginning to understand that it might be more important to like her self and get respect from others. She didn’t have a clue how to get started. I pulled out an old book from my bookshelf. The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook introduces a useful approach to assertiveness with its LADDER mnemonic.

LADDER describes a six-stage process for handling problems in an assertive way. These are:
L – Look at your rights and what you want, and understand your feelings about the situation
A – Arrange a meeting with the other person to discuss the situation
D – Define the problem specifically
D – Describe your feelings so that the other person fully understands how you feel about the situation
E – Express what you want clearly and concisely
R – Reinforce the other person by explaining the mutual benefits of adopting the site of action you are suggesting.

Although this is only a beginning in becoming assertive, it is a beginning! Recognizing a problem is the first step to finding a solution!

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