Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Have you always wanted to become more assertive - to speak up for yourself, express your feelings freely, say no when you want to and stop being a people-pleaser? If so, what has prevented you from doing so?

One obstacle many people have to behaving assertively is their beliefs about the acceptable ways to interact with other people. These thoughts become habitual and are strengthened by repeated patterns of thinking and the impact of past experiences. We tend to assume these beliefs are accurate, seldom stopping to question their validity.

When you develop positive beliefs about being assertive, you are more likely to engage in assertive behavior and to continue acting assertively in the face of criticism and resistance from others. You are less likely to feel guilty after you have expressed your feelings and opinions or asked for your needs to be met.

Assertive communication is direct (clear, concise and to the point), while the others are indirect (hinting, mixed messages and avoiding the point). Assertive behavior helps communication, while aggressive, passive and passive-aggressive behavior hinders it.

Being assertive means expressing ourselves without hinting, playing games, blaming, or hoping the other person reads our mind. We ask for what we want. We state it clearly and concisely. We say it in a respectful way. We know we can deal with the consequences of our statements, whatever they may turn out to be.

We learn our style of communication from the people around us and how they interact with each other. If a passive parent or an aggressive parent raised us, those are the styles that are most familiar to us and that we are most likely to duplicate. So, just as we learned how to be aggressive, passive or passive-aggressive in the past, we can learn to communicate assertively now.


Authored by Barbara Small She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and is also trained as a Life Coach.

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