The Surprising Role of Body Language in Assertiveness

How does it get this good?…. “My wife and I are together, and expect to be forever. We’ve learned to deal with one another and learned to identify and control our bad habits. I’ve learned why I was an abusive man and how to not be an abuser. “Sometimes I see my old habits in others and feel empathy and compassion – and wish they had the advantages of a hundred or so sessions with Dr. Deb. Thanks so much for your help. Our time together was an investment worth more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I believe that I owe my life to your help – certainly, I didn’t realize that I could be this happy again.” –Florida Well, of course I was pleased as punch to receive an email with this nice news. After all, YOUR happiness is what I get up for in the morning! Every day! But I was also curious. I wanted to know, how all this came about. Why was I hearing from him now out of the blue? So I wrote him back. And here is what he said: “Your assertiveness worksheet became a habit. Instead of playing intellectual one-upsmanship games with clever dialogue with a goal of “winning” some non-existent, delusional contest, I trained myself to be honest and ask myself, ‘Why am I thinking this?'” And I have to tell you, I’ve heard so many good things about my Assertive Sheet that I decided to share some of it with you here on my blog. Here goes . . . Part I of my Assertive Sheet is...

Three Facts About Abusive Body Language That You Probably Didn’t Know

What’s the most ancient form of communication, still existing in full force in the animal world? You got it–body language. Oh, those rolling eyeballs that speak volumes! The nasty piece about body language is that people “read” it unconsciously and only register it as weird when the spoken language and the body aren’t saying the same thing. Let’s take an example: “Oh, sweetie, you can talk to me any time.” Sounds nice, inviting, warm, right? Now suppose someone said that with a frown, or in such an undertone that it was barely audible, or with their nose in a book. Wouldn’t that be confusing? The listener would be forgiven if she or he wasn’t sure if it were sincere. So, suppose someone was saying, “I respect you,” but they were looking bored, eyes cast off at a spot on the floor. What message would the listener hear? Suppose a mother says, “I love you” but her arms are stiff as she holds her little child. Suppose your own true love holds your hand very, very loosely as you walk down the street. Can you see how each of these gestures of the body convey an unclear meaning or one that is the opposite from the spoken one? Here are some rules of words and deeds: 1. If words and deeds don’t match, the listener doesn’t believe the words. In other words, the deeds rule. Usually, the listener doesn’t know why. In other words, the action speaks to the unconscious so the listener doesn’t consciously know what was communicated. He just feels uncomfortable. Or, the listener could come to believe...
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