Day 6: How To Practice Assertive Boundary Statements

Today, for our 31 Days of Boundaries challenge we are practicing assertive boundary statements. Assertive statements involve developing effective communication skills that allow you to express your thoughts, feelings and needs directly while respecting the rights and boundaries of others. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to practice assertive statements:

1. Self-Awareness:
Understand your feelings, needs, and boundaries about the situation. You should have already taken time to contemplate and think about the areas in which you might be frustrated, irritated, or overwhelmed. Before communicating assertively, clarify your thoughts. Writing them down can be helpful as you begin to formulate and put words to how your feel. 

2. Choose the Right Time and Place:
Pick an appropriate time and setting where you can have a private and uninterrupted conversation. Timing can influence the effectiveness of your assertive communication. When its too soon, the receiver may respond emotionally or negatively. Take time to observe the receiver and determine a time that is appropriate.

Let's say it's a coworker, sharing this right before a big presentation might not be the best time. Schedule a time when both individuals have had time to think and are not consumed mentally or emotionally with other high-priority things. 

3. Use "I" Statements:
Begin your statement with "I" to express your perspective and feelings. For example, "I feel" or "I need." Try to refrain from placing blame and using YOU. You did this or you did that. That invites offense into the conversation and puts people on the defense. Beginning with how you feel is a gentler approach and it shows that you care and have taken into consideration the humanistic side of things. 

4. Be Clear and Specific:
Clearly state your thoughts, feelings, or needs. Avoid vagueness or ambiguity, as it may lead to misunderstandings. Instead of saying, "I need time alone." try "I need time alone to think about the situation." OR " I need time to process my emotions and journal about a bit." Prayerfully the person on the receiving end cares about you enough to meet this need.  

5. Avoid Apologizing:
Express yourself without unnecessary apologies. Being assertive doesn't require you to apologize for your feelings or needs. Your feelings are your feelings and your needs are your needs. OWN THEM. Apologizing says, "I am sorry I feel this way." and you should never feel bad or guilty about your feelings and needs.  

Remember, practicing assertive statements takes time and effort. It's a skill that is developed over time, and not overnight. The more you practice, the more confident you'll become in expressing your feelings, needs and boundaries.

If you're new here and looking for days 1-5, head over to the Instagram page and check out the highlight, "Boundaries" and you will find the prompts and tips for those days there!

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