Assertiveness is a communication style.
It is being able to express your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions in an open manner that doesn’t violate the rights of others.
If we never express ourselves openly and conceal our thoughts and feelings this can make us feel tense, stressed, anxious or resentful. It can also lead to unhealthy and uncomfortable relationships. We will feel like the people closest to us don’t really know us.
What Is Assertiveness?
Being assertive means to be positive and confident. It is knowing that you deserve respect. Assertiveness begins by being aware that you are a worthy person. You have your very own special gifts. Only you have your unique combination of qualities.
When you are assertive, you tell the truth about what is just. You don’t follow others. You think for yourself. If someone is trying to hurt you, lead you into trouble, or influence you to do something you feel is wrong, you protect yourself. You show the strength not to let others hurt you or influence you in negative ways.
Assertiveness is asking for what you need and want.
Assertiveness is expressing your own ideas, opinions and talents. When you do this, you serve the world in your own special way. You are using the gifts you were given.
Why Practice Assertiveness?
Without assertiveness we would be passive. We would let others boss us around. We would just react to the things that other people expect of us. Others would tell us what to do and what to think. We wouldn’t stop to figure out what we want, need, or think.
If you were too passive, you would allow others to hurt you or get you into trouble. You would not be able to set limits that keep you safe.
The trouble with being too passive is that your special way of being and thinking would remain unexpressed and the world would be a poorer place.
Without assertiveness you might be too aggressive. You would try to control others, push them around or hurt them. You would feel bad about yourself.
When you are assertive, others respect you. You are offering your true ideas and feelings as well as protecting yourself from things that can cause you harm. When you are assertive you choose what you will do for reasons of your own. God made you the way you are to play your special part in the world.
How Do You Practice It?
Here are some handy tips.
- Non- reactivity. Remember others will react to your reactivity. So keep calm, listen, be present and acknowledge what has been said. The storm should pass and then it is your turn to put your perspective forward. You can schedule this for a later time, if needed, when you have calmed and processed your emotions. This breaks destructive, reactive patterns.
- Tell the person how you feel. For example, I feel hurt and angry because it meant to me you did not care or this is what I thought when you said this. This will open up the opportunity to discuss the situation calmly.
- State the facts & take responsibility for your own thoughts. Do not bring other past interactions or incidents into the conversation. As this will make resolution complicated and difficult. It is hard to respond to multiple issues at the one time. This causes stacking and can lead to big life generalisations being made from a particular incident. Not good for anyone.
- Thank the person for listening and this will help to make the ground fertile for reconciliation either now or in the future.
- Strive for a win-win situation. Negotiate rather than react, allowing the other person room to explore their higher potential. If we have ordinary thoughts about others they will stay ordinary, if we have elevated thoughts, people rise to the positive expectation.
And remember, regardless of the outcome you have done your best with good intentions and are taking full responsibility for your own feelings. The trick is to start and practice will improve your skills.
Would love to hear your experiences with assertiveness or lack of? Just leave a comment below.