What is assertiveness? It is one of the most misunderstood yet crucial qualities that can make a big difference in many aspects of your life. However, you may not even be aware of how important assertiveness is in your daily life. To better understand assertiveness let us take a look at a few examples…
– Assertiveness is your ability to be self-assured without being arrogant or aggressive. In the world of therapy and psychology, it’s a learned skill which is a powerful mode of communication and also a very important tool to improve your self-esteem. If you ask people what they dislike about assertiveness they will say things like; assertiveness makes you pushy, forceful, and without empathy. However, there are some other positive sides to assertiveness, for instance if you take the time to listen to your partner and yourself you will find that assertiveness can do wonders for your relationship. It can make both of you more positive, empathetic, and understanding which all add up to a greater happiness and contentment in your lives together.
– When you have an emotional reaction to being criticized, such as fear, you will tend to want to avoid the situation and defend your “ego” or “identity”. In fact, defense mechanisms are automatic reactions that we sometimes don’t even know about ourselves. If you are not aware of your emotional reactions then assertiveness might be working against you and diminishing your emotional needs and feelings. When you are more aware of your true self and what your true needs and feelings are you are much more able to act in a way that benefits you instead of always working against your true self-interest.
– Many times you will find that people who have issues with assertiveness don’t feel comfortable in conflict. They will either withdraw completely or try to minimize conflict by focusing on their own human needs and feelings instead of focusing on what is best for the group as a whole. Remember that everyone has their own human needs and feelings and when you are willing to meet them, you are more likely to have healthy conflict resolution. People who are not comfortable with conflict will focus on just their own needs and feelings which are detrimental to the overall health of the relationship. It can lead to a lot of resentment, power struggles, lack of communication, and acrimony in the relationship.
– Another thing that you should keep in mind is that you can display your assertiveness without needing to resort to aggression. While assertiveness does not require aggression, many times when you are assertive you will come off as aggressive because your actions will be in opposition to what you are trying to accomplish. This can be quite damaging to a relationship and have you feel like you are not good enough, worthy, or successful to be around someone who is aggressive.
You can work to eliminate your false guilt and learn to express your assertiveness without feeling guilty. In fact, you may actually find that expressing your own opinions without the need to feign your guilt will give you a greater sense of satisfaction. If you spend most of your time worrying about how others are feeling, you will miss out on the life that you could have. Learn to let go of your false guilt and learn to enjoy all of the healthy feelings and positive attributes that come with assertiveness instead of hiding them under the mask of false guilt.