Assertiveness is a key quality in all positive and productive relationships and a skill that we should all learn to know better.
An assertive person is confident and direct in dealing with others. Assertive communications promote fairness and equality in human interactions, based on a positive sense of respect for self and others. It is the direct communication of a person’s needs, wants, and opinions without punishing, threatening, or putting down another person.
Assertive behavior includes the ability to stand up for a person’s legitimate rights – without violating the rights of others or being overly fearful in the process. A skill that can be learned, assertive behavior is situationally specific; meaning different types of assertive behavior can be used in different situations.
Assertive behavior involves three categories of skills; self-affirmation, expressing positive feelings, and expressing negative feelings. Each will be explored during this course.
An assertive individual communicates in a way that clearly states his or her opinions and feelings, and firmly advocates for his or her rights and needs without violating the rights of others. Assertive communication is born of high self-esteem. Assertive people value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. They are strong advocates for themselves — while being very respectful of the rights of others.
Assertive people feel connected to other people. They make statements of needs and feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully. Feeling in control of themselves, they speak in calm and clear tones, are good listeners, and maintain good eye contact. They create a respectful environment for others, and do not allow others to abuse or manipulate them.
The assertive person uses statements that imply:
- “I am confident about who I am.”
- “I cannot control others, but I control myself.”
- “I speak clearly, honestly, and to the point.”
- “I know I have choices in my life, and I consider my options. I am fully responsible for my own happiness.”
- “We are equally entitled to express ourselves respectfully to one another.”
CREATING POSITIVE SELF-TALK
Positive self talk allows you to recognize, validate and apply your full potential with respect to all that you are, and do. Also called affirmations (to make something firm), positive self-talk serves as your own personal accomplishment scale. Below are some tips for positive self-talk:
- Use the present tense; deal with what exists today.
- Be positive – rather than affirming what you don’t want.
- Remain personal; self-talk must relate to you and you only.
- Keep sentences short and simple.
- Go with your gut. If it “clicks”, then just say it. Self-talk should feel positive, expanding, freeing, and supporting.
- Focus on new things, rather than changing what is.
- Act “as if”; give yourself permission to believe the idea is true right now.
If self-talk is new to you, it is a good idea to first think about the things that are wonderful about you, such as:
- I have someone I love, and we enjoy spending time together
- I am a mother or father, fulfilled in this role
- My career is challenging and fulfilling.
- When I learn something new, I feel proud.
- I am worthwhile because I breathe and feel; I am aware.
- When I feel pain, I love, I try to survive. I am a good person.
ASSERTING YOUR RIGHTS
It is very helpful to consider your rights in your relationships with others at work. Here are some possible rights you may want to assert:
- I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being.
- I have the right to express my feelings.
- I have the right to express my own opinions and values.
- I have the right to say “yes” and “no” for myself.
- I have the right to make mistakes without feeling worthless.
- I have the right to change my mind.
- I have the right to say I don’t understand.
- I have the right to ask for what I want.
- I have the right to decline responsibility for other people’s problems.
- I have the right to choose to be aggressive and unassertive if it is justified.
See the Global online course on: Assertiveness and Self-Confidence.