What is assertiveness and how can you become more assertive? In life, we often encounter situations where we want to say “no,” but we don’t always know how. We may be afraid of offending the other person, and therefore we are often forced to do something we don’t want to do. How can we learn to be assertive?
WHAT IS ASSERTIVENESS?
Assertiveness is a psychological term that means having and expressing your own opinion. It’s the ability to behave with respect for yourself and others at the same time.
Assertiveness is a learned skill, which means we’re not born with it. Assertive people are able to take care of what’s important to them without hurting anyone or manipulating them. By not spoiling their relationships with others, assertive people seem to be happier and healthier.
ASSERTIVENESS AND CRITICISM
Being assertive doesn’t just mean openly expressing your opinion. Assertiveness and criticism are a combination of the ability to accept and express criticism, as well as praise. Assertive behavior is most often accompanied by people who have a reasonable self-image, so assertive people set realistic goals, use their skills and abilities, and are much better at accepting criticism. When they take it to heart, they start working on themselves and improving what may not be perfect.
WHAT IS AN ASSERTIVE PERSON LIKE?
An assertive person is confident but doesn’t cross the line of self-determination. They’re honest and can deal with people, which means they don’t get into conflicts. Good relationships with others have a positive impact on their health and functioning. An assertive person is sufficiently aware of their strengths and weaknesses, so they’re not strongly dependent on temporary successes and failures. They can afford to make a mistake and do better next time.
HOW TO BE ASSERTIVE?
You can actively develop your own assertiveness with the help of a psychotherapist, psychologist, or assertiveness training. However, we learn assertiveness throughout our lives and slowly acquire new skills. It gives you a sense of strength and confidence, so it’s worth working on developing your own assertiveness. You can start your training by listing your strengths. We wrote about assertiveness in children here.
HOW TO LEARN ASSERTIVENESS?
To improve your assertive skills, it’s worth taking advantage of group training dedicated to developing this skill. Assertiveness training often takes the form of a group or individual course consisting of several meetings, where you can learn interesting techniques that you’ll use later in practice.
DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ASSERTIVENESS?
A lack of assertiveness can sometimes indicate deeper issues with one’s own personality, low self-esteem, unresolved past problems, or a traumatic childhood.
In such cases, assertiveness training may not help because the problem lies elsewhere. The obstacle to assertiveness may be deeply hidden within ourselves, which we often do not realize. Psychological consultation can help us better understand the causes of the problem, suggest possible solutions, and also allow us to rediscover ourselves.