Assertiveness is the ability to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a way that respects yourself and others. Sometimes there is a negative connotation around the word assertiveness. However, when discussing communication, assertiveness should be viewed as a positive and essential trait.
Lack of Assertiveness
Many people lack assertiveness because it is hard to know how to be assertive. Often assertiveness is viewed as an undesirable trait, or a person lacks the confidence or self-esteem to assert their needs to others.
Sometimes, people are reluctant to be assertive because they fear it may damage relationships or lead to bad outcomes. Assertiveness training can help build confidence and a sense of autonomy.
Why You Need to Be Assertive
Being assertive doesn't mean being rude or obnoxious. Rather, it means being direct about what you need, feel, or believe while still being respectful of others. According to Mayo Clinic, assertiveness is an excellent communication skill that can reduce stress, minimize interpersonal conflict, build self-esteem, and even strengthen all the relationships in your life.
Build Your Assertiveness
While working on assertiveness skills, remember the following:
- You are allowed to feel your feelings, express your opinions and beliefs, and have the right to be listened to as you do.
- Your thoughts and feelings matter, even if they are difficult for you to accept, and others don’t agree with them.
- You can change your mind without feeling bad about it or needing to explain yourself.
- You are allowed to walk away from situations and people that harm your well-being (those who don’t allow you to live within your values and build confidence).
The Relationships and Communication section of the Confidant Health Learning Library can give you more information on building assertiveness. You can discover and learn more about this valuable skill through the useful resources that we provide for you there.