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According to the American Pschychological Association, assertiveness includes appropriately refusing requests from others, expressing ones opinions and feelings, and expressions personal requests. For Andrea Dasilva, Assertiveness means acknowledging and respecting your rights, values, and boundaries, as well as those of others. It involves showing empathy for others while still respecting yourself. We recognize that assertiveness can be perceived differently depending on one’s beliefs, values, and culture; however, some benefits of assertiveness are increased self-esteem, understanding and recognizing your feelings and developing honest relationships with others.

Say “no”! Respect yourself and others

If a certain situation or event goes against your beliefs, it may be helpful to reflect on how you would like to respond.  Saying “no” in certain situations can be a form of self-care; saying “no” can also help you take care of others. On occasion, we feel uncomfortable saying no, but we recognize that it can be important for our mental and physical health. This month, members of our team are practicing saying “no” without feeling guilty to support their health and the health of their loved ones.

Express yourself as an individual and/or a collective

Being assertive may require you to articulate individual or collective rights, values, and boundaries. Members of our team will be trying to use “I” statements this month in order to clearly communicate our needs and feelings. Telling people how we feel can help us identify our feeling so that we can relax and take charge of our reactions. You may want to try using this feelings wheel to better identify how you are feeling.

Set boundaries

It’s easy to bring work home with us when it’s piling up at school. It’s a good thing to be more assertive by setting work/home boundaries and leaving out work at the workplace. If you’re working at home it may be helpful to set specific work hours and stick to them. It’s also important to respect the work boundaries of your colleagues by trying not to contact them about work during their off-hours. 

Write Them Down

One technique to help set boundaries is to set clear, specific priorities. We sometimes find it helpful to write down and prioritize the things we’d like to achieve as an individual or a collective group. It could help to write down 10 things that you’d like to do and then focus on 3 main tasks. You could also make a priority list and use the 4D’s of time management, where you attribute either “do”, “defer”, “delegate” or “delete” to each task.  These two tips may cut your decision-making time and allow you to be more efficient.  

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