What Assertiveness Is and is NOT

Updated: May 25


Communication can be really challenging sometimes (and more often than not when we are on a recovery journey).

We want to be heard so that we can act in our own best interest and stand up for ourselves when communicating with others. Especially if it is a difficult conversation or we are trying to get something accomplished and need to effectively communicate our needs.

Sometimes we are too passive, too aggressive, or are passive-aggressive in the way we are communicating our thoughts, beliefs, wishes, and feelings. These communication styles create barriers to being able to move forward productively and effectively advocate for ourselves.

Often assertiveness is confused with aggressiveness, and we can come off nasty, pushy, or uncaring of the feelings of others. Instead of effectively using assertiveness as a skill, if it is replaced with aggressive communication and behavior, we do not allow others to be open and honest about their views, wishes, and feelings. Then we are likely met with resistance and even create unnecessary arguments and negative feelings between ourselves and others.

Now that we know what assertiveness is NOT

What IS assertiveness?

How do we get our point across so that we effectively advocate for ourselves?

Assertiveness is a healthy way of communicating that allows for conversation. It is the ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that is honest, respectful, and encourages the other party in the conversation to share their personal views, beliefs, and feelings with us as well.

Being an assertive person does not always come naturally to everyone, but it can be learned.

Here are some tips and tactics for using assertiveness as a skill:

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