How to be more assertive in your relationship

Relationships can be wonderful, but they can also be tricky. Many would say that if a relationship doesn’t have its twists and turns, then perhaps it isn’t an authentic one – one where those involved can be honest and open.

Conflict often occurs when someone feels overlooked, unheard or unable to express themselves. A sense of dissatisfaction can seep in when we have curtailed our wishes or ideas too many times. While compromise is essential in most relationships, it shouldn’t be done all the time, otherwise, we are left feeling thwarted and never fully satisfied. This relates to a romantic relationship, with friends, or even colleagues at work.

We have so many relationships to maintain and they can all make demands of us: the friend who always asks too much, the parent who now needs your care, the boss who has unrealistic expectations or the partner who doesn’t do enough with the house or kids.  

We want to be part of each of these relationships, but at times, the expectations can become overwhelming and if we aren’t careful, we go on autopilot as a means to protect ourselves. We overlook our own needs just to ensure everyone else’s are being met. But we all know this isn’t sustainable. We know we need to assert ourselves, ensuring our voice is heard and we too have an opportunity to grow and relax. But knowing when to assert ourselves or how to share our opinions, can feel really daunting at times.

We may worry about coming across as rude or demanding. Or worry about sounding selfish or silly. And as a result, so many of us don’t make demands. We don’t share our opinions. We choose to keep quiet so that we don’t rock the boat. And this all contributes to that sense of dissatisfaction, slowly mounting up.

If we are constantly putting our wishes, opinions or requests on the back burner, we are overlooking ourselves. We aren’t giving ourselves the chance to actually be ourselves, so how can we expect others to?

These days we hear about knowing who we really are to ensure we are living ‘authentically.’ But what does it mean? In short, it represents the idea of being true to yourself, your ideals and beliefs, your desires and aspirations. If you long to live in the countryside but work is keeping you in the city, you’re not living authentically at that point in your life. If you’ve always wished to be a yoga instructor but money demands you remain in your current role, then this compromise can lead to dissatisfaction and potential conflict.

Some from an older generation may think that you can’t always have what you want. “Life isn’t fair, but you make the most of it”. This is also a fair point. Sometimes our aspirations are just too out of reach and we should examine the world we do have in front of us and what we love about it or what we could change. But it all boils back to being happy, content and satisfied within our relationships. The whole myriad of them, with all the different roles and different versions of yourself, can be really difficult. Knowing who we are in each role can be tricky as we begin to adopt different behaviours for different relationships. This is where things can get blurred between being ourselves and being the appropriate version of ‘you’ for each role you have in life. 

Being ‘you’ isn’t always easy for each relationship. We can’t be the same person with our lover as we are with our boss and so it takes a huge amount of control, understanding and thought to navigate a world where we have different personas for different relationships. 

As someone who works in schools, I am occasionally criticised for talking to my partner the way I do with the eight-year-olds I work with. It must be really annoying, but it isn’t something I do on purpose. I juggle different versions of myself constantly in this work and sometimes they leak out into the relationship I have at home. Within this role in schools, I have one persona for my boss – formal, polite with considered points of view. I have another for my colleagues – more relaxed, joking around or having a bit of a moan. The next is with the children – patient (as much as possible), authoritative but nurturing. And finally, the parents of those I work with – approachable but professional and carefully choosing the words I use when discussing their child. So, which one is me?

They all are! Without certain roles existing, the jigsaw isn’t complete. However, some of these versions may be more forced than others and it is essential that just a couple of them are really solid and nurture who we are and give us what we need. So, if you know none of your relationships is providing this, then it may be time to reflect on this and consider your options to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance to thrive.

How can hypnotherapy help?

The beauty of hypnotherapy is that we use the imagination a lot in the work we do, and this can aid us to address fears or worries, boost confidence and heal old wounds that may still be having an impact in your day-to-day life. Hypnotherapy can do much more, but these three varied areas can all be linked with you being more yourself. They all contribute to boosting you so that you know what you are striving for while addressing what may be holding you back. 

If you are worried about how you communicate your frustrations, we can help with that. Via your imagination, we can take you through scenarios where you are contributing your thoughts and opinions to a conversation. You will notice the interested reactions of the other participants and if there is a moment of conflict, we can equip you with the tools to deal with this politely while still asserting yourself.

This can be incredibly powerful for those who bottle things up. It can also be hugely beneficial if you are wanting new ways of communicating with your spouse or boss – trying to ensure you are being heard.

If you’re looking for confidence or know you need to value yourself more, we have just what you need. A lot of hypnotherapy work has some aspect of ‘ego bolstering’, where we unlock that drive, determination and bravery to tackle your challenges head-on. This can be a particularly enjoyable form of hypnotherapy as you will wake up feeling really good about yourself. Most clients love this form of work as it can be very empowering and uplifting.

Hypnotherapy has the power to release what may have been buried away inside you. And because it is dealing with what you already possess, you are always in control. You already have the means to assert yourself and have meaningful, positive, balanced relationships but hypnotherapy provides you with the tools to help unlock this set of skills hidden inside you.

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Written by Jessica Chapman
Jessica Chapman is a therapist and teacher with a passion for the outdoors and being creative. She enjoys assisting others in making positive changes to their lives alongside working on her own aspirations.
Written by Jessica Chapman
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