Assertiveness is your power to take charge of your energy and life. If you feel like you are being taken away from yourself in many ways, then assertiveness is necessary for change. There are many benefits to assertiveness, including an improved sense of self-worth, better relationships with others, and greater productivity. But there is a dark side to assertiveness – it can also lead to feelings of guilt and powerlessness.
Passive assertiveness is the opposite of aggressive assertiveness. As a therapist and life coach, I have observed clients who suffer from low self-esteem because of past hurts and who feel that they have no control over their life. In the world of therapy and behavioral management, passive assertiveness is a way of communicating and a valuable skill to improve interpersonal relationships. However, there are individuals who use passive-aggressive behavior as a way to control others, exerting control and using others against them. They may think that they are not hurting anyone when they use this type of behavior, but they are in fact hurting themselves by denying their own feelings and beliefs.
Assertive does not mean selfish or dominant
Many people are afraid to speak assertively in different situations because they feel that they will appear selfish or dominant. But in reality, many people’s behaviors are a result of their own lack of self-awareness. When you speak out of line, you will usually hear what you say and understand where you are heading. Assertiveness doesn’t mean that you give other people the “right” to be mistreated, it just means that you are aware of the direction you are taking when you speak out in different situations. You have to learn to listen and respond to the needs of others, and this will help you empower yourself.
When I talk to clients who suffer from passive-aggressive behavior, I often find that they are in the habit of defending their own feelings and thoughts. Instead of taking the perspective that they are expressing as their truth, they take on the aggressive posture. This is actually a form of submission and can be very manipulative. If someone is dominating your thoughts and feelings, you don’t have the option of simply rejecting this behavior. Instead, you must either lie down and not speak at all, or decide to let the other person prevail and use your own words against you. However, if you are assertive in your communication, it shows that you are taking responsibility for your own emotions and are not vulnerable to manipulation.
How does assertiveness work?
When you communicate assertively, you will become self-confident in your own unique set of values and skills. You will also become aware of your internal and external relationships, as well as the interactions between all of your interpersonal relationships. Your self-confidence will increase your self-esteem, which in turn means you will feel less dependent upon others to validate your feelings and needs. You will also gain a better self-understanding, as you will be able to see yourself objectively instead of accepting the perspectives of others.
It is important to remember that when you make an assertive behavior or statement, it has to be delivered from your core value or belief. If you use your words to merely defend yourself from the emotional charge of someone else’s accusation, then you are not using self-confidence to its maximum potential. When you speak from your core value, your message will have all the power it can, because it will be coming straight from your heart and your deepest beliefs. As your message is delivered from your heart, you are increasing the likelihood of getting what you want from the interaction.
In some ways, simply making the decision to switch from being defensive to being more proactive in your interactions may help you avoid some relationship problems. By taking the time and effort to understand the dynamics of assertiveness and communication, you may be able to avoid trying to prove your point to the other person and becoming defensive all the time. Understanding the difference between assertiveness and communication may help you make the best possible decision.
Remember, that communication is never aggressive, it’s always supportive. It’s important to learn to talk to the other person in a supportive manner, rather than attempt to get your point across using force. The key is to understand how to communicate your needs and concerns using a healthy way of communicating. This is where you should begin your journey towards improving your relationships. So, take the time to learn more about assertiveness and communication and discover a healthy way of communicating with the people around you.