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What Assertiveness Is and is NOT

Updated: Aug 19, 2022


a woman uses a black marker to write believe in yourself in cursive

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:

  • Assertiveness means standing up for your personal rights, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways.

  • Assertiveness should always respect the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of other people.

  • Assertiveness enables individuals to act in their own best interest, to stand up for themselves without undue anxiety, to express feelings and personal rights comfortably, and without denying the rights of others.

  • Assertiveness means encouraging others to be open and honest about their views, wishes, and feelings so that both parties act appropriately.

Putting these tips and tactics into practice will eventually make being assertive second nature. Rather than falling back on aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive behaviors and styles of communication you will be able to advocate for yourself in a way that will get you a better response from others.

Think you might need a little extra help putting this into practice?

Follow this link… Turning Leaves can help you discover and develop the skills you need so that you can begin to be assertive in your daily life, relationships, and workplace, ultimately allowing you to be your biggest advocate.

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