Assertiveness key to women's wellness

” The University of Akron Counseling Center held its final Women’s Wellness Workshop yesterday evening at 6 p.m. The meeting focused on assertiveness and what women can do in order to use it in the correct way. Stephanie Cunningham led the meeting. Cunningham is a practicum counselor at the Counseling Center.”

The University of Akron Counseling Center held its final Women’s Wellness Workshop yesterday evening at 6 p.m. The meeting focused on assertiveness and what women can do in order to use it in the correct way.

Stephanie Cunningham led the meeting. Cunningham is a practicum counselor at the Counseling Center.

There is so much to cover about assertiveness. This will just be a broad overview, Cunningham said at the beginning.

She first asked the students what their definition of assertiveness was.

After listening to their definitions, Cunningham incorporated the definitions the students provided into the one she previously prepared.

She defined being assertive as being able to relate to others and being able to retain self respect while interacting with others.

She also added that assertiveness involves having control over one’s own life and not being pushed around.

On the extreme ends of assertiveness are aggressiveness and passiveness.

Cunningham explained that for women, being assertive is generally more of a problem.

Some reasons for this are that they have been socialized to be peacemakers or caretakers and are quick to put the needs of others before the needs of themselves.

She gave the example of some mothers who cannot bring themselves to discipline her young child for fear of hurting their feelings or getting on their bad side.

Generally speaking, Cunningham explained, women are more likely to base their actions on what will please those around them rather than themselves.

After explaining what assertiveness means and providing a few examples, Cunningham talked about what causes some people to become passive.

So many people are obsessed with the shoulds and what they should be doing as a wife, girlfriend or student, she pointed out.

When they feel as if they have done something wrong or not helped out as much as they could have, guilt takes over.

Cunningham explained that guilt has a lot to do with acting passive.

For example, if someone says that they can’t do a favor for someone and they whine or give reasons to feel sorry for them, then they are using guilt to manipulate the person into doing the favor for them.

Of course, there are exceptions to some situations.

However, if a person continues to ask and convince someone to do something that the person does not want to or cannot do, then they are most likely acting on the person’s feelings of guilt.

Cunningham then presented students with the Assertiveness Bill of Rights, which contains 11 rights that guide people to using assertiveness in the correct way.

Some of these include the right to change your mind, the right to say, I don’t know, and the right to say no without feeling guilty.

Remember that these are your rights, but they are also everyone else’s rights, warned Cunningham.

You still have to value everyone else’s attempts at being assertive.

She explained that assertiveness, aggressiveness and passiveness can be shown through non-verbal and verbal ways.

Non-verbal ways include the type of posture a person presents, eye contact and facial expressions.

Verbal ways can be agreeing with a criticizer in a certain way.

For example, if someone tells a person that they look frumpy, that person should respond with something such as, Yeah, I’m not looking that great today.

The person avoids further criticism by agreeing with them.

The University of Akron Counseling Center offers many types of counseling, including group and career counseling.

Counseling is free for University of Akron students.