Today I was reading an article about human rights abuses and it reminded me that these things also apply much closer to home too. When a person behaves assertively they are affirming that they have rights and so do those they are dealing with.

Contrast this with the two alternative behavioural styles. When people behave aggressively they are giving themselves rights but denying those rights to others. When somebody behaves non-assertively, they are giving rights to others that they don’t give to themselves.

Hold on! What sort of rights are we actually entitled to?
In their excellent book Assertiveness at Work, Ken and Kate Back propose the following list. Take a moment now to consider each in turn and to give yourself a score between 1 and 10 as to how comfortable you are with each right:

  • The right to hold your own opinions
  • The right to a fair hearing for those opinions
  • The right to need and want things that may differ from other peoples needs and wants
  • The right to ask (not demand) that others respond to your needs and wants
  • The right to refuse a request without feeling guilt or selfish
  • The right to have feelings and to express them assertively if you want to
  • The right to be wrong sometimes
  • The right to have others respect your rights.

Now imagine that you chose to fully embrace these rights and also to recognise that everyone else has the same rights too. How would you act? How strong and confident would you feel?

So next time to read about human rights abuses in the news, ask yourself how fair you are being with yourself and those around you. Are you abusing your own rights? Are you short changing yourself by giving rights to others that you don’t give to yourself?

Leave a Comment