Dear reader, this post is an very small extract taken from Suryacitta's latest book, The Happiness and Contentment Workbook - Embracing your Natural Joy. It is packed with short simple effective exercises such as the one below. The book is an actual workbook in which, you write your own responses to a series of questions and prompts, and it is also beautifully illustrated.  
(EXERCISE) The assertive self – PART 1 
You probably know already if your assertive self is present in your life, but we can explore the issue and become clearer and more honest about it. The assertive self is often banished when we are young as we don’t want to disappoint our parents and guardians, so we learn to please them so that we are accepted. 
When we don’t assert ourselves we tend not to get what is due to us and tend to feel bad about ourselves. We may go over a situation in our mind time and time again thinking, "Why didn't I say that?" or "If only I'd done this". This can lead to feelings of blame, depression and anxiety. 
The first stage of introducing the assertive self into your life more is to recognise its absence. 
(Instruction) Sit quietly for a few minutes and feel your breath. When you feel ready just read slowly the words below and notice how you feel when reading each one. Note down your feelings. 
Expressing your own feelings and opinions  
Saying no without feeling guilty  
Expressing your anger  
Stating what you want  
Feeling resentful  
Always pleasing others  
Nodding in agreement when really you don’t agree 
(EXERCISE) The Assertive self – PART 2 
The inner critic can be relentless in getting us to fit it. It works with the people pleaser (which we will look at later) and is anxious to make sure we are accepted as much as we can. The critic can stop you from being honest in your relationships, it can have you nodding in agreement with somebody when you really don’t agree. It can prevent you from saying no, enough is enough. When we agree to things and others opinions which we really don’t agree with this can lead to resentment. 
As we weaken the grip of the inner critic we also strengthen the one voice which I believe is absolutely essential to living a good life free from resentment and fear, I call it the assertive voice. Or the voice which can say YES or No and mean it. 
(Instruction) Sit quietly for a few minutes and feel your breath. Read through each question carefully and write your responses with your non-dominant hand. (For example, if you are right handed then hold the pen in your left hand) Don't think too hard, just write something. Allow yourself to feel the response. 
Hello there, assertive voice, how are you today? 
Are you around much in my life? 
Would like to be around more in my life? 
What difference would you make to my life? 
Just let any responses be there, no need to push away unpleasant ones or to cling to the pleasant responses. Just asking the question and letting them into your being is enough.  
The Happiness and Contentment Workbook is available from Amazon and many other stores.  
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