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Assertiveness 101

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Assertiveness is a skill that may come naturally to some, but not to all. Some people may view assertiveness as abrasive, rude, mean or even aggressive. But, assertiveness is a competent trait that can get you far in life when balanced evenly and used effectively.

What does it mean to be assertive?

Being assertive is being direct about what you need, want, feel, or believe, in a way that is respectful of others. Being assertive offers many benefits to almost every area of your life.

For example, when you’re more assertive in the workplace, you show your superiors that you have the qualities required of a leader and the confidence necessary to go for what you need or want. In your relationship, being assertive has even more benefits!

Assertiveness, gives you a good understanding of yourself, as well as a strong belief in your inherent value, ideas and lifestyle.

Assertiveness allows you to identify and be clear about what you want and need in your relationship, improving communication between you and your partner and ensuring the healthy state of your relationship.

This self-belief is the basis of self-confidence and assertive behavior. It will help you to recognize that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, give you the confidence to stick up for your rights and protect them, and remain true to yourself, your wants and your needs.

What can you do to be more assertive?

When you are learning to be more assertive, you make the decision to positively assert your views and yourself and commit to it. It’s not enough just to think about maybe trying to be more assertive in situations, like you think about how you really should work out more while you’re eating dessert. You have to commit to it. 

The next step is to improve your communication and listening skills. These two skills are crucial in assertiveness. You need to communicate openly and honestly with a respect for those with whom your speaking. In addition to that, you have to become an active listener. 

Pay close attention to what people say to you, try to understand their perspective and don’t interrupt. The key to having the right balance in your assertiveness is to respect others and allow them the space to be assertive, as well.

In the actual application of assertiveness, you want to stay calm, avoid guilt trips, and use what is referred to as “I” statements. “I” statements (I think, I feel, I know) are much more assertive and more constructive than “you” statements (you never, you always), which tend to be more harmful. 

How can you keep your assertiveness in check?

There’s a fine line between positive assertiveness and abrasive rudeness. A good way to keep yourself in check and ensure you aren’t toeing that line is to be observant, not just of yourself but of those around you. 

Take time throughout your day to reflect on yourself, your behavior, and your choices. Watch how others behave around you; if your loved ones seem uncomfortable with your behavior or put off by your attitude, you should examine your assertiveness and maybe make some adjustments. 

Being assertive can get you far in life, but we have to be aware of the line between being positively assertive and being rude. If you keep yourself in check when working on your assertiveness and create a good balance, you will achieve more, and create more happiness in your life.

Assertiveness can lead to promotions, healthier relationships, and a more positive self-image. You’ve Got THIS!

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