To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself and trust that you are enough. ― Edith Eva Eger
Everyone has the right to express their feelings. Not everyone knows how. Some people seem to be naturally assertive. For others, being assertive can be a scary proposition.
It can be easy to think that if you are assertive, people will see you as pushy and aggressive, which could lead to conflict and disagreement. To the contrary, assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness it’s about standing tall for yourself and communicating what you think, what you feel and what you need while respecting the rights of others. Learning to assert yourself will not just get you further in life, it will make your life better. Here is how:
It Builds Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
When people tell me they believe they were born to be either passive or aggressive, I remind them, it does not mean it must stay that way.
The way we react to others affects how we feel about ourselves. When it makes us feel guilty or regretful, it can make us less likely to be assertive in the future. When people are not assertive, they often suffer a loss of confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to an ongoing cycle of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, anger, and resentment.
Speaking up for yourself in a confident and diplomatic way, being able to say “No,” and “Yes” only when you mean it, is a tremendous confidence booster. The good news is, it’s a skill that everybody can learn. Being more assertive will help you boost your self-esteem and also help you earn the respect of others.
It Improves Communication and Understanding
How can people learn what you are truly thinking and feeling unless you teach them and make it clear? Others cannot read your mind. Learning to communicate assertively is an effective communication style because it’s based on mutual respect. It’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it that helps other people understand and value your message.
Assertive communication allows others to be heard; to state what they think and what they want. This encourages people to listen, comprehend and relate, rather than just react to your passive or aggressive message.
It Improves Your Chances of Getting What You Want
Keeping your needs to yourself allows others to decide for you. This often results in doing things we really don’t want to do and feeling a sense of losing control over our lives.
Asserting yourself does more than help keep people from walking all over you. When people know and understand what you really want, you are more likely to get it.
It Helps Create Honest Relationships
We are all social beings. Demonstrating to other people that you value mutual respect, signifies that you are fair-minded and makes you more believable when they know what you stand for. It’s saying that you are honest and willing to resolve conflicts through cooperation and negotiation.
It Reduces Stress and Improves Well-Being.
Stress and anxiety can make you feel that you have little or no control over your life. Worrying about appearing pushy or selfish if you ask for something, can make you angry for not having your needs met. Passivity often leads to resentment.
Assertive communication is a positive and powerful way of sending your message and getting along with others. Learning to be more assertive will not only help you feel better about yourself, but it can also improve your health and your job satisfaction.