Assertiveness can be defined as the ability to stand firm for your rights and that of others in a self-confident and calm way. Assertiveness is the protection of your rights and others without being aggressive.
Being assertive involves the manner at which an individual expresses his beliefs, thoughts, rights, and needs in a straightforward, open, honest, and respectful way. Being assertive does not include violation of another individual’s rights and inflicting pain directly or indirectly to get one’s way.
At times, this is seen when an individual is willing to enter a compromise when his thoughts, rights, or needs are in conflict with another individual. This proactive behavior is opposite the antisocial behavior where an individual’s need is attained by means of a willful violation of the rights of others. Assertiveness is a communication skill by using which you can claim your rights and communicate your feelings with others by maintaining harmony. Assertiveness is one of the major topics of social and communication training programs.
It does not mean that you will win every time by being assertive because you have to take care of the rights and authorities of the others also. The people who have great assertive skills can balance their feelings with the feelings and wants of the opposing parties.
What is being assertive?
What does it mean assertiveness ?. Is to have the ability to respond to other people maintaining one’s rights while respecting other people rights. Is to keep your self-esteem without damaging them. Ask the following questions:
- Can you stand up for yourself?.
- Are you too submissive that you won’t even ask for your needs?.
- Do you often feel guilt or resentment or upset and constantly think that they are taking advantage of you?
When you are expressing your thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner, you are assertive. Your behavior is the result of a healthy self-esteem and confidence.
What is an example of being assertive? I have summarized some examples of being assertive with scenarios.
Scenario: You are tired of your whole-day work and suddenly, you receive a call from your mother who wants your help in sorting some items to sell them. As you are tired, you want to get some reset but your mother is also wanting you for help. In this case, being assertive, you should convey the following message to your mother,
“I completely understand that you need my help and honestly, I would like to do that also. Today, I got extremely tired due to my busy day work and I need some rest also. I can help you tomorrow in the best way with full energy. Would it be fine for you?”
Scenario: You have planned a dinner with your girlfriend and you have arrived at the restaurant on time. But, she’s late. It is not the first time that she is late, every time you plan a meeting, she shows up 40-50 minutes late. Being Assertive, your behavior should be,
“Did something happen bad which made you late? I feel hurt when you late again and again. It gives me anxious and non-prioritize feelings. Is there anything which I can help to fix this problem?”
Scenario: Every day, when you get back in your home from work, your wife and kids ignore you in a really bad manner. They ignore you, again and again, every day. You feel this thing hurtful and you want to deliver your expectation to them. You can tell them you’re feeling assertively like,
“It is very painful that whenever I come home from work, no one seems happy to see my face. No one asks me how was my day at work. I feel hurt and not appreciated”
Scenario: Your 15-years old child get angry every time you ask him to clean the mess in his room. You can convey your message to your son by being assertive in the following way,
“It is an overburdening thing when you do not take part in cleaning the house and your room. I have complete understanding that you do not like to be reminded again and again to clean your room, but it an essential task and everyone needs to take part in it”
Importance Of Assertiveness
Assertiveness is a very beneficial skill in maintaining good behavior in social communication. In course of your career, you have to deal with different types of peoples. Some of them are with good behavior while some are rude. Assertiveness is going to be very helpful in dealing with all kinds of peoples. We have summarized some major benefits of Assertiveness.
- Assertiveness improves your self-confidence: Assertiveness has a direct relationship with your self-confidence. It improves your self-confidence in communicating with all types of peoples. The development of self-confidence is nurtured when one is assertive. The behavioral aspect of being assertive is seen when someone is able to speak up amidst people who opt to be quiet about things involving decision-making. This is seen more in settings where an individual’s life is being affected by a certain decision.
- It provides an individual a sense of control about how he approaches the different elements in his environment. An individual will feel more empowered to arrive at self-directed decisions and express the ideas he has in mind. At times, assertive people need the power to influence others as well.
- It provides the foundation to build positive relationships. People will respond in a more honest manner to those who are honest about themselves and others. Note that the type of honesty referred to is one that involves constructive communication.
- It increases the chances of getting what one wants.
- Assertiveness helps reduce Stress reduction: In the course of your career, sometimes your feel stress due to facing difficulty in taking a stand for your rights and those of others. Assertiveness helps to reduce stress feelings and helps you in standing out for your rights in a calm manner by maintaining harmony.
- Assertiveness improves your reputation among other people: Being assertive, you can enjoy a highly respected reputation among other peoples. People will start loving you due to your Assertiveness. By getting assertiveness skills, you will become a valuable asset for your organization.
While assertiveness is a positive behavior, it also has its drawbacks. Assertive people are sometimes perceived to exude superiority when immersed in settings composed of passive people. Sometimes, in the presence of less-assertive people, an individual may cause intimidation.
This brings about difficulties in getting useful ideas across and people may feel as though they are less favored. Inversely, assertive people may also feel bad when things do not turn out as they wanted. Because of the greater chances of them getting what they wanted in the past, the expectation of events turning out the same way is high and may result in frustration when it doesn’t.
What is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive?
Many years ago I used to have a passive behavior because I was afraid to be rejected. Later I found myself victimized and I started to respond with aggression. Why?. Because I wasn’t aware that I could be assertive. It took me many years to understand that there was a better way of expressing myself by being assertive. Responding with aggression you demand, threat. You become sarcastic and sometimes engage in physical violence. With aggression, you stand up for yourself violating other’s rights. When you are assertive, you can stand up for yourself respecting other’s right.
Being assertive is to have confidence enough in oneself to be able to express your feelings without damaging your self esteem. By being assertive, you will start building confidence and self-respect, resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Assertiveness allows you to express anger constructively and overcoming shyness is easier.
If you can’t be assertive some of the consequences are:
- Resentment. You are manipulated and used.
- Frustration. You are victimized and dwell on self-pity.
- Violence inside of you. If you can’t express your anger appropriately, you’ll keep it.
- Avoidance. Because you are uncomfortable, you will have a tendency to avoid social situations.
- Poor relationships. Conflicts in relationships, doubts, fears, resentment and so on.
To be assertive, you have to know your boundaries and limitations. Apply the following tips for being assertive:
- Make eye contact. This way you acknowledge the person you are talking to.
- Relax and adopt and open posture.
- Get to the point, avoid hurting with your words.
- Always say I. Don’t refer as You make me feel.., instead say: I feel ……
The last tip is to remain calm. If you are angry stop, let go of the anger and then approach the issue. And always make the different between interpretation and evaluation. Interpretation involves feelings. For example He is saying that I am wrong, he wants to hurt me. Evaluation is neutral: He is saying that I am wrong. Most of us are not used to express our feelings. We expect them to read our minds. If you expect them to read your mind, you will live under other’s assumptions.
You will notice changes in your relationships while you use assertiveness. You’ll notice different reactions. When I started to be assertive, I felt uncomfortable with myself and many family members thought that I was acting strangely. Is a matter of persistence, we tend to reject change, is uncomfortable. If you practice assertiveness, everybody respects you. Your confidence and self-respect improves. To Improve your assertiveness, try to Assert Yourself Pack
You can also use assertiveness quotes and become more confident, enhance esteem and overcome victimization.
3 Tips to increase your assertiveness
- Tell your thought and stand up for what you believe and your rights. It prevents you from just agreeing to others and being taken advantage of. For you to clearly understand it, explained here are the types of it. First is empathic assertion. In here, whenever you speak up, you also think of how the other person feels. You recognize first the feeling of that other person before you tell him/her how you feel. Next is basic assertion wherein you simply say your opinions, beliefs and feelings. Here you are being straightforward. When someone constantly violate your rights and do not respond to what you say, you do the next type of it, escalating assertion. As the name implies, you increase the assertion and becomes more firm in telling the others on how you feel and what you want.
- Let go of guilt. Many times you will find yourself feeling guilt especially if you’ve been passive or a people pleaser most of your life. Remember that being assertive is vital to your well-being. You might have negative thoughts such as ” I feel bad because I am not going to the party”. Replace this negative thoughts with something like: “I deserve to be with my children and I will not put my family in jeopardy just because I want to please my coworkers”.
- Learn to say NO. If you’ve been a people pleaser most of your life, is hard to say NO. You might feel that by saying NO you are selfish and don’t care about other people. This is not true, you have to learn to put yourself first and remember that if you want to have healthy relationships you have to sett healthy limits. Saying YES when you want to say NO will make you feel resentful because you are doing something that you don’t really want to do.
It is important to be assertive so that others won’t think that they can make you do whatever they want to. It will prevent you from just saying yes and ending up unhappy. From now on, promise yourself to be assertive and it will make you a better person.
Being assertive means that you believe that everyone is equally worthy with the same opportunity to agree or disagree. Assertiveness means that you are firm and at the same time tactful.
Assertiveness is a communication skill by using which you can protect your feelings/rights and the rights of others without being aggressive. Assertiveness is the main part of communication skills training. Assertiveness can be helpful in your career. It can boost your self-confidence, improve your reputation among peoples, and made you a respectable person in the community. Being Assertive, you can become an integral part of your organization and play a highly beneficial role in its progress. We have also discussed some examples of being Assertive with the help of Scenarios. We hope, you have got enough knowledge about Assertiveness from this article.
List of Being Assertive Books
Photo by Tim Gouw
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