What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself and your rights without violating the rights of others. It is appropriately direct, open, and honest communication which is self enhancing and expressive. Acting assertively enhances self confidence.

You are behaving assertively when you express your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in direct, honest ways that do not violate another person̢۪s integrity.

You are behaving aggressively when you express your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in ways that humiliate, degrade, belittle, or overpower the other person.

You are behaving non-assertively when you fail to express honest feelings, thoughts and beliefs– or express them in such an apologetic, diffident, or self-effacing way that others can easily disregard them.

Assertiveness is based on balance. It requires being forthright about your wants and needs while still considering the rights, needs, and wants of others. When you are assertive, you ask for what you want but you don̢۪t necessarily get it.

Aggressive behavior is based on winning. It requires that you do what is in your own best interest without regard for the rights, needs, feelings or desires of others. When you are aggressive, you take what you want regardless, and you don̢۪t usually ask.

Value yourself and your rights

  • Understand that your rights, thoughts, feelings, needs and desires are just as important as everyone else’s.
  • But remember they are not more important than anyone else’s, either..
  • Recognise your rights and protect them..
  • Believe you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at all times..
  • Stop apologizing for everything..
  • Don’t wait for someone to recognize what you need (you might wait forever!).
  • Understand that to perform to your full potential, your needs must be met..
  • Find ways to get your needs met without sacrificing others’ needs in the process..
  • Don’t make the mistake of accepting responsibility for the how people react to your assertive statements (e.g. anger, resentment). You can only control yourself..
  • As long as you are not violating someone else’s needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want..
  • Allow yourself to be angry, but always be respectful..
  • Do say what’s on your mind, but do it in a way that protects the other person’s feelings..
  • Control your emotions..
  • Stand up for yourself and confront people who challenge you and/or your rights..
  • Accept compliments graciously..
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes and ask for help..
  • Accept feedback positively – be prepared to say you don’t agree but do not get defensive or angry..