Assertiveness means being able to express your feelings, your wishes, your wants and your desires appropriately. It is an important personal and interpersonal skill or way of communicating. In all your interactions with other people, whether at home or at work, with employers, customers or colleagues, assertiveness helps you to express yourself in a clear, open and reasonable way, without undermining your own or others’ rights.
By being assertive you always respect the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of other people as well as your own.
Assertiveness actually means encouraging others to be open and honest about their views, their wishes and their feelings, so that both persons or parties communicate respectfully and compassionately.
Many people adopt a passive response because they have a need to be liked by others. If so, you do not regard yourself as equal because you place greater weight on the rights, wishes and feelings of others. Behaving passive results in not communicating your thoughts or your feelings and you do things you do not really want to do, in the hope that you please others. This also means that you allow others to take responsibility, to lead and make decisions for you.
The underlying causes of passive behavior are often poor self-confidence and self-esteem, in itself it can further reduce feelings of self-worth, creating a vicious circle.
On the other end of passive behavior there is aggressive behavior. You don’t consider the views or feelings of other individuals. If you react aggressively you might rarely show praise or appreciation of others and an aggressive response tends to put others down. Aggressive responses even encourage the other person to respond in a non-assertive way, either aggressively or passively.
There is a wide range of aggressive behaviors, including rushing someone unnecessarily, telling rather than asking, ignoring someone, or not considering another’s feelings. It’s so important to be aware of this.
The use of either passive or aggressive behavior in interpersonal relationships can have a lot of negative consequences for those you are communicating with and it may block to move forward in a positive way.
It can also be a frightening or distressing experience to be spoken to aggressively and you can be left wondering what you have done to deserve this aggression.
It is so important to remember that any interaction is always a two-way process and therefore your reactions may differ, depending upon your relationship with the other person in the communication.
Most people find it easier to be assertive in some situations than in others. This makes perfect sense. It’s a lot easier to hold your ground with a stranger than with someone you love who might get angry if you express your true feelings. But the more important the relationship is to you, the more important it is to be assertive. Assertive behaviors lead to increased respect from others, their willingness to see you as a person who respects him/herself, a worthwhile person, and a more lovable person!
If you don’t know how to be assertive, you might experience:
Depression – Anger turned inward, a sense of being helpless, hopeless, or of having no control over your life.
Resentment – Anger at others for manipulating or taking advantage of you.
Frustration – Why did I allow that to happen? Why did this happen?
Temper/violence — If you can’t express anger appropriately, it may build up and you might end up communicating in an aggressive way.
So what are the benefits for you in being assertive:
– Improved self-worth and self-image. When you choose to improve your self-image. You decide not see yourself as superior to others (aggressive) but you also do not see others as being superior to you (passive).
You accept that you are of equal value to others and your sense of self-worth reflects this. You are aware that everybody in the world has their own preferences so, you will not always be able to have your preferences met. You know as well that, for the same reason, you will not always be able to meet the preferences of others. Being aware of this allows you to deal with the occasions where you cannot meet the preferences of others or they cannot meet your preferences. And that that is fully ok!
– Being realistic. When you are assertive, you learn to view others in a more realistic and compassionate way. Rather than see them as a threat, you are aware that they are simply trying to achieve their objectives. When others make a request of you, they do so because they believe that you are the best person to help them achieve their objectives. And rather view them as competitors, you choose to see them as potential collaborators. You learn to understand them better.
You also start to understand that you choose your own feelings. If somebody is upset because you did not agree to their request, you know that they chose to feel upset and it was not you who made them feel that way. Which can be a big breakthrough regarding your self-worth.
– You will gain more time and energy. When you choose to be assertive, you express your views clearly and the issue gets dealt with there and then in that moment. So you do not need to spend time and energy thinking about the issue over and over again which can cost a lot of energy and time.
As well being aggressive can create a lot of stress because you tend to see the other as a threat and you fear some form of attack. And on the other end with passive behavior as I wrote before you fail to really express yourself and so things build up. This can cause ruminating over and over again, thinking what you could have done differently and you might eventually snap in an aggressive way… And if you don’t express yourself it can cause health issues because of the stress.
So if you think, after reading this, that you need some help with this then please reach out to me. In my Facebook group Essential Living I have a special promotion for 1,5 hour assertiveness coaching and If you like to get to know me you can book a FREE 20-minute-getting-to-know-each-other- session, here the link to schedule: jiska.youcanbook.me
And please feel welcome to share below, I’m so curious what your thoughts are after reading this!?