Communication – Assert Yourself
Being assertive is a core communication skill. Being assertive means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. Being assertive can also help boost your self-esteem and earn others’ respect. This can help with stress management, especially if you tend to take on too many responsibilities because you have a hard time saying no. Assertiveness is based on mutual respect, an effective and diplomatic communication style. Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. It also demonstrates that you’re aware of the rights of others and are willing to work on resolving conflicts.
Of course, it’s not just what you say — your message — but also how you say it that’s important. Assertive communication is direct and respectful. Being assertive gives you the best chance of successfully delivering your message. If you communicate in a way that’s too passive or too aggressive, your message may get lost because people are too busy reacting to your delivery.
Assertive vs. passive behaviour: If your style is passive, you may seem to be shy or overly easy-going. You may routinely say things such as, “I’ll just go with whatever the group decides.” You tend to avoid conflict. The message you’re sending is that your thoughts and feelings aren’t as important as those of other people. In essence, you give others the license to disregard your wants and needs.
Your intention may be to keep the peace. But always saying yes can be detrimental to your relationships. It may cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family always come second. The internal conflict that can be created by passive behaviour can lead to:
Assertive vs. aggressive behaviour: Now consider the flip side. If your style is aggressive, you may come across as a bully who disregards the needs, feelings and opinions of others. You may appear self-righteous or superior. Very aggressive people humiliate and intimidate others and may even be physically threatening. You may think that being aggressive gets you what you want. However, it comes at a cost. Aggression undercuts trust and mutual respect. Others may come to resent you, leading them to avoid or oppose you.
The benefits of being assertive
Being assertive is usually viewed as a healthier communication style. Being assertive offers many benefits. It helps you keep people from walking all over you. On the flip side, it can also help you from steamrolling others.
Behaving assertively can help you:
Learning to be more assertive can also help you effectively express your feelings when communicating with others about issues.
Learning to be more assertive
People develop different styles of communication based on their life experiences. Your style may be so ingrained that you’re not even aware of what it is. If you want to change your communication style, you can learn to communicate in healthier and more effective ways.
Tips to help you become more assertive:
Remember, learning to be assertive takes time and practice. If you’ve spent years silencing yourself, becoming more assertive probably won’t happen overnight. If anger leads you to be too aggressive, you may need to learn some anger management techniques. if certain issues such as anger, stress, anxiety or fear are getting in your way, consider talking with a mental health provider.