The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Women learn ways to speak assertively

By Javine Toms/reporter

The importance of balance, listening, assertive communication and protection were on the agenda for the WINR Network Nov. 10.

In Listening with Your Heart, Speaking Up for Yourself, NE instructor Janine Lund opened with a modified version of the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: all people, all women and men are created of equal value and in worth,” she said. “A short version of that is: I have worth and value. You have worth and value.”

Lund referred to Virginia Satir’s People Making in which she described stances or “patterns of communication” in families.

She said people learn those stances as a way to survive a particular place in their family.

“Blamer, placater, computer and distractor — and they each have a way that you act them out,” she said. “A lot of those are us. When we thought we had gotten rid of that side of us, they will show up.”

Lund demonstrated by explaining the fifth stance, “the leveler,” which occurs when people say both parties are equal.

“Most of us don’t have that experience,” she said. “We tend to be comfortable with one or the other of those stances. Our goal is to have level communication that offers mutual respect and mutual benefit and that there is balance.”

People need to remember to keep the balance between understanding and being understood, Lund said.

“We are so focused on other people, their needs, that we lost the focus of taking care of ourselves,” she said. “Writing down your feelings is an example of expressing yourself in art. You have to ask yourself, ‘If I don’t speak up for myself, then who will?’”

For conversations with family, friends or colleagues, Lund suggested using a 70/30 rule in which one lets the other person talk 70 percent of the time.

“Within your time, you use that to ask questions that don’t require just a regular yes or no, like ‘How did that make you feel? Well, what else happened?’” she said.

People should also listen actively by making eye contact, putting away all distractions and paraphrasing and repeating back what was heard to see if it was heard correctly, Lund said.

“That will give the other person a chance to correct you and give you more information,” she said. “You are setting the stage for balance when you do that because you are listening with your heart and you invite that person to listen to you interestingly and carefully.”

Students need to protect and stand up for themselves in certain situations and not be afraid to say no when something is not in their best interest, Lund said.

“Here is a good saying: ‘I can say no to anybody and walk away,’” she said. “Some conversations are the beginning of new respect, new problem solving and new hope.”

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