This is a tough skill for me. I’ve gotten better at it. Sorta.
What is interesting is my ability to use this skill within the work environment with ease and grace. But in my personal life, I struggle. I think it’s because work isn’t personal. Home is. And really, at the end of the day, my life doesn’t revolve around my workmates and whether or not they like me. My life DOES revolve around what is personal to me, WHO is personal to me, those relationships are what lift us up or tear us down.
This skill was/is the hardest for me because it challenges every part of me that was/is a people pleaser. It is literally the opposite of a people pleaser and, well – that shit is scary.
This skill is used when you need to ask someone to start or stop doing something. That’s right. ASKING someone to start doing something or to stop doing something. Using it to express a grievance. Are you kidding me? I’d rather just ignore it and bitch about it to someone who is not involved than actually assert myself to the person directly. That seems easier, right? Of course it does. That’s why you do it. That’s why I do it.
DEARMAN is obviously an acronym.
Describe – use specific words to describe what you want from the other person
Express – be expressive with your words, use body language
Assert – be assertive but not aggressive
Reinforce – be sure the person understands what you’re asking and why it is important to you
Mindful – stay in the moment, keep emotions in check, and don’t do digging in the past to make your point
Appear Confident – you may not feel deserving of what you’re asking for but if you aren’t confident in your request then it may not be taken seriously
Negotiate – be open to compromise, find a balance with the other person
I can talk myself out of asking something of someone. I’m super great at it. I almost feel like I could win an award. I wax and wane over “things” to the point where I minimize their importance. Avoidance. I am a fan of avoidance. Avoidance is easy. Confrontation is hard. For starters, the word confrontation just has a negative connotation about it. Doesn’t it? It just sounds like an unhappy word. Because it is. I go in thinking what I’m asking will become a confrontation and that isn’t true. We turn requests into confrontation by not following this skill. If we assert ourselves to the point of aggression. If we do not stay mindful in the moment we may begin to leverage historical events in our plea for whatever it is we are asking. If we are unable to negotiate. That turns a request into a confrontation that will leave us feeling defeated.
Practice makes perfect. I practiced this skill a lot and in the beginning I only practiced it with my husband. I would preface what I was about to say with some humorous expression letting him know I was going to try to use the skill. Because humor is my defense mechanism. You can’t get mad at a funny person who is smiling at you. Right?
I’m going to narrow my sights. I need to refocus on this skill. Give it the attention it needs. I feel like I’m slipping back into people pleaser mode simply because it’s easier.