Interpersonal Effectiveness Handout 10

Guidelines for Self-respect Effectiveness

Keeping Your Respect for Yourself

One way to remember these skills is the word FAST
Fair (be)
Apologies (no)
Stick to values
Truthful (be)

1. Be Fair
This means being fair to yourself and the other person in your attempts to meet your objectives. The idea here is that it is hard to like yourself in the long haul if you consistently take advantage of the other person.

2. No Apologies
Apologize when apologies are warranted. No overly apologetic behavior. No apologizing for being alive. No apologizing for making the request. No apologizing for having an opinion. No apologizing for disagreeing.
Apologizing implies that you are in the wrong...Apologizing when you do not believe you are in the wrong will reduce your sense of effectiveness over time. Being able to apologize is a very important skill, and is important for maintaining relationships, however, it gets on people's nerves and can reduce relationships effectiveness

3. Stick to Values
Don't sell out your values or integrity, just to get what you want or keep the other person liking you. Be clear on what, in your opinion, is the moral or valued way of thinking and acting. However, in dire situations, or where lives are at stake, people may decide to give up their values.

4. Be Truthful
Don't lie or act helpless when you are not. Don't exaggerate.
A pattern of dishonesty over time erodes your self respect. One instance of dishonesty may not hurt, but dishonesty as your usual pattern over time erodes your self-respect. Acting helpless is the opposite of building mastery. Sometimes being honest may actually reduce relationship effectiveness. The little white lie was invented for this reason. However, if you are going to lie it should be done mindfully, rather that habitually.
Important notes about self respect effectiveness.

Remember that no one can take away your self-respect unless you give it up. When you use DEAR MAN you can improve your self respect by increasing your sense of mastery. But another way to increase your self respect is by giving things you want for the welfare of the other person.
Using DEAR MAN sometimes leads to a loss of self-respect for the other person. Balancing what you want, with what the other person wants and needs, sometimes is the best path to self-respect.
For most people self respect is somewhat dependent on the quality of their relationships. Using GIVE skills well will enhance your sense of self respect.
But if you only use GIVE skills with a person who is abusive, or who doesn't care about you - always validating the other person, being interested, using an easy manner, never threatening no matter what the other person does - your sense of self respect is likely to erode over time.

Using GIVE skills when they are needed, and putting them away when harshness and boldness are necessary, might be the best path to self-respect.