Archive for July, 2015

All About Assertiveness

July 16, 2015

Do you have a difficult time saying “no” even when you know you should? Are you frustrated because you are so busy attending to the wants, needs and desires of others that your own go unfulfilled? Have you ever walked away from a situation and wished you had handled it differently? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may feel challenged in the area of assertiveness.

What is assertiveness? What is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive? Will people think that I’m being pushy? These are common questions and concerns. Here are some pointers to help clarify what assertiveness is really all about.

Assertiveness is…

Assertiveness is expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. It means that we have respect both for ourselves and for others. We are consciously working toward a “win-win” solution to problems. A win-win solution means that we are trying to make sure that both parties end up with their needs met to the best degree possible. An assertive person effectively influences, listens and negotiates so that others choose to cooperate willingly (or feel safe to assert their own point of view).

Assertiveness is not…

Assertiveness is very different from aggressiveness. Aggressiveness involves expressing our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a way that is inappropriate and violates the rights of others. It can be either active or passive, but no matter which, it communicates an impression of disrespect. By being aggressive, we put our wants, needs and rights above those of others. We attempt to get our way by not allowing others a choice.

Becoming assertive is a lifetime project. As you begin to practice some basic assertiveness skills, you will develop confidence in yourself. Some situations are more difficult than others, so you may want to begin practicing assertiveness skills in easier situations. It may be easier to assert yourself with strangers than with your supervisor at work or with your family. For example, while waiting in line and someone cuts in front of you, you can assertively say, “I believe I was next.” Keep practicing these skills and you will become a more confident, happier person.