Kara Meyer, Ph.D. - Psychology Services
RSS

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

MENTAL HEALTH DAY
LETTING GO OF GOALS
FAMILY RITUALS
RESILIENCE
FEELING HAPPY

Most Popular Posts

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER
ASSERTIVENESS
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
MANAGING STRESS
STRESS

Categories

ADHD
Anger
Anxiety
Behavior
Child Psychology
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Communication
Depression
Exposure and Response Prevention
Family
Family Rituals
Goal Setting
Happiness
Homework
Mental Ilness
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Psychology in the News
Resilience
Routines
School Issues
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Stress
Suicide
Teens
Therapy
powered by

My Blog

ASSERTIVENESS

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:  
  • Self-Awareness: Assertiveness begins with knowing your own wants and needs. Take some time to write down why a certain situation is not working for you and how you would like it to be different. You are your own best advocate.  
  • Body Language: Make direct eye contact and sit with an erect posture. Do not fidget, slouch, or sit with your arms and legs crossed. Speak clearly and firmly without using an apologetic or harsh tone of voice. Also, use an appropriate facial expression (e.g., a serious face as opposed to smiling when saying no).  
  • I Statements: Use “I statements” to describe your feelings (e.g., "I feel, want, or need..."). This allows you to take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions.  
  • Direct Delivery: State your message as briefly and clearly as possible, in one or two sentences. Do this without being sarcastic, condescending, judgmental, or threatening.  
  • Reflectively Listen: Listen to and understand what the other person is saying, not your interpretation of it. Acknowledge what they have said and validate their feelings.
  • Compromise: Be willing to meet in the middle while still sticking to your limits. Focus on a win-win solution if possible.  
  • Stay in Control: Be in control of your emotions. Remember that people are responsible for their own behavior – you can only control yourself.  
  • Broken Record: Stay focused on your message and reassert what you are saying when faced with someone who is not willing to hear your point of view or take no for an answer. Do not allow yourself to get pulled into an argument or be forced to explain yourself. Instead, use a concise statement that reflects your view that you can use over and over.  

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.