How to Be Assertive
Please read the following article and watch the following video before completing this journal entry: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/assertive/art-20044644 &How to Be Assertive (Links to an external site.)
NOTE: This journal entry is comprised of composing a set of three sentences (or small paragraphs if you see fit) and then a single paragraph where you reflect on what you learned from the first exercise.
Write three different responses to the instructor described in the following situation. Respond to the instructor by (1) placating, (2) blaming, and (3) leveling. [If confused by these terms or these directions, please see the definitions and examples in the box below.]
Situation: You register for a course required in your major. It is the last course you need to graduate. When you go to the first class meeting, the instructor tells you that your name is NOT on the roster. The course is full, and no other sections of the course are being offered. You’ve been shut out of the class. The instructor tells you that you’ll have to postpone graduation and return next semester to complete this required course.
Remember, in each of your three responses, you are writing what you would actually say to the instructor—first as a placator, second as a blamer, and third as a leveler.
DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLE:
Placating = Victims who placate are dominated by their Inner Critic. They place themselves below others, protecting themselves from the sting of criticism and rejection by saying whatever they think will gain approval. Picture placators on their kneews, looking up with a pained smile, nodding and agreeing on the outside while fearfully hiding their true thoughts and feelings within. “Please, please approve of me,” they beg as their own Inner Critic judges them unworthy.
Blaming = Victims who blame are dominated by their Inner Defender. They place themselves above others, protecting themselves from disappointment and failure by making others fully responsible for their problems. Picture them sneering down, a finger jabbing judgmentally at those below. Their Inner Defender snarls, “You never… Why do you always…? Why don’t you ever…? It’s your fault that….”
Leveling = Leveling is the communication style of Creators. It is also known as appropriate assertiveness: honestly expressing opinions and requests. Leveling is characterized by a simple, yet profound, communications strategy: asserting the truth as you see it. Levelers communicate purposefully, honestly, and responsibly. Here is an example of applying these terms to a different scenario than the one assigned for your journal entry:
Situation: You feel sick one day and decide not to go to your history class. You phone a classmate, and she agrees to call you after class with what you missed. But she never calls. At the next history class, the instructor gives a test that was announced the day you were absent, and you fail it. Afterward, your classmate apologizes: “Sorry I didn’t call. I was swamped with work.”
Placating: Oh, don’t worry about it. I know you had a lot on your mind. I probably would have failed the test anyway.
Blaming: You’re the lousiest friend I’ve ever had! After making me fail that test, you have some nerve even talking to me!
Leveling: I’m angry that you didn’t call. I realize that I could have called you, but I thought I could count on you to keep your word. If we’re going to be friends, I need to know that you’re going to keep your promises to me in the future. Will you?
After completing the dialogue giving three responses to the instructor in the first situation above, then also write in the box below what you have learned or relearned about being assertive from the leveling response you created above. How assertive have you been in the pursuit of your goals and dreams? How has this choice affected your self-esteem? What changes do you intend to make in communicating (placating, blaming, leveling), making requests, and saying “no”? Be sure to dive deep!