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Shutdown or Shut it Down

Using assertive communication versus shutting down.

When people have a history of not listening to you and what you have to say, there are two routes to take. The first route is shutting down, not say anything else, and keeping your thoughts, feelings, and comments to yourself. The second route is shutting it down through assertive communication.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication is self-advocacy. It's being clear about what you need and what you want. Your needs and wants are just as valuable as anyone else's. Assertiveness allows you to say 'no' when you want to. Assertiveness doesn't mean to be inconsiderate of others. It allows you to be empathic and understanding. However, you do not have to agree or consent to the other's position.

Below are a few quick tips to help you through the process:

  • Rehearse. It's okay to rehearse and practice conversations before you have them. Assertiveness may be a new and uncomfortable thing for you. Write it out and say it out loud.

  • Practice. Find someone you can trust to do a test run. Practice expressing what you need in a cool, calm, and collected way. Also run through a scenario where someone will not take 'no' for an answer. It's almost guaranteed that someone will not like your new communication style.

  • Application. It's showtime! This is the hard part. Work through as best as you can. With continuous application, things will start to get easier.

  • Consistency. Be as consistent as possible. There may be times that you could shut down a conversation, but you do the opposite. Don't fret. There will be plenty more opportunities that come along. Just make sure to take advantage of them

Examples of Assertive Communication

"I won't be able to pick your kids up from school on Tuesdays. Their school is out of my way and I need time to relax after my work day."

"I cannot loan you anymore money."

"I need to feel safe and protected in this relationship. Right now, I don't"

"It's difficult for me to think with the loud music. Can you please turn it down?"

#shutitdown #mentalwellbeing

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