Skip to content

Say ‘yes’ to saying ‘no’

For many people, standing up for yourself and being confident are as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. If you’ve ever said “yes” despite the “no” that was screaming in your heart then you know what I’m talking about.
0
A photo illustration of how to assert oneself and find your no.
A photo illustration of how to assert oneself and find your no.

For many people, standing up for yourself and being confident are as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. If you’ve ever said “yes” despite the “no” that was screaming in your heart then you know what I’m talking about.

Perhaps you might consider sitting in on a talk about assertiveness that’s coming to the St. Albert Public Library next week. It’s a popular offering that demanded another run, says Stephanie Foremsky, the library’s public services manager.

“It’s kind of a repeat favourite. We all need some help with assertiveness.”

Shelley Porter, registered nurse and the lead for mental health and social work with the St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network (PCN), couldn’t agree more. There’s a good reason this program has been offered for several years now.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize they struggle with how to communicate effectively with how to get their needs met but in a fair way. So being able to say, ‘No,’ being able to set boundaries with others, being able to get your needs met but without being aggressive, or bullying somebody else,” she said.

Saying that simple two-letter word is not as easy as it should be for many people.

“It is not easy to do,” she emphasized. “In fact, you can be assertive in some areas, and not assertive in others. You might be assertive with your relatives, but you're not assertive at work or vice versa. You’re really good as a manager, and people would say, ‘of course you’re assertive,’ but then you go home, and maybe you have a harder time saying no to your spouse or communicating effectively with your spouse.”

Porter calls the 90-minute presentation a crash course with time for questions and answers. It’s a solid introduction to the subject with further information about other resources given out at the end. She said she has heard back from many clients about the positive impact assertiveness training has had on their lives.

“They didn’t realize that the way they were communicating was actually harming the outcomes of some of their interactions. Some of the more people-pleasing people that are out there are nice people or shy people and maybe they don’t really realize that they can actually very effectively communicate without being aggressive or being mean or being unfair.”

The fact that the PCN is still offering the program seven years later means that the proof is in the pudding.

“People are attending. People are requesting it. As a nurse working in the clinic, I offer people that course often. It’s such a good skill to have.”

Even if you don’t feel like this topic is that much of a deficit in your life, Porter said it’s always good to hone your interpersonal skills.

“You don’t have to be struggling with anything in order to take this particular class. I think it’s all good for all of us. I think we can all brush up on our communication skills and become better communicators, for sure.”

The Win, Win: Understanding Assertiveness program runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Forsyth Hall. Attendance is free but pre-registration is encouraged. Sign up at the main floor Customer Service desk or by visiting www.sapl.ca. The St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network regularly offers this and other programs about psychological and physical health on topics such as stress, anxiety and depression. Visit www.saspcn.com/events to learn more.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
Read more