Assertiveness is an important communication skill. It means honestly and appropriately expressing your thoughts, feelings, rights, and needs. Assertiveness involves being able to express your likes and interests, talk about yourself, accept compliments, ask questions, disagree openly with someone, and say “No” – all without feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable. It also means expressing yourself while still respecting the rights and feelings of others.
Assertiveness is important because without expressing yourself, those around you are forced to make assumptions about your thoughts and feelings, and assumptions are often inaccurate. Often times people find it difficult to be assertive because they think it will make them whiny, demanding, or manipulative. This is not the case if done correctly. Assertiveness is not about getting what you want all of the time or making people respond to you in a certain way. It is about expressing yourself appropriately and protecting yourself from unfairness.
Being assertive can help you to better recognize your own feelings. It shows you respect yourself and others, and that you are willing to resolve conflicts. Assertiveness can help improve your self-esteem and confidence, while gaining the respect of others. It can also result in improvements in your decision-making, relationships, and job satisfaction. Furthermore, it can reduce anxiety, anger, depression, frustration, and aggression.
If you are not naturally assertive, that’s not a problem. It is a skill that can be learned. Here are some tips for practicing assertiveness:
Remember that being assertive does not mean people will like what you have to say or will give you what you want. It is about effective communication.
- Kara Meyer, Ph.D.
**The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other medical professional. This blog does not provide clinical advice, nor should its contents be considered clinical advice. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other healthcare provider promptly.