What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a way of communicating that allows us to express our opinions openly. Being assertive is an alternative to being either passive (where we are not being fair to ourselves) or aggressive (where we are abusing the rights of other people).
The Benefits of Being Assertive
When we do not express our opinion, over a period of time, we can become increasingly angry and frustrated. We feel unable to influence things around us. This can lead to a gradual loss of self esteem. Our relationships can also suffer because we are not communicating our feelings to others.
When we are assertive it is more likely that we will achieve what we want. This is because we are making our wishes clearer to those around us. Even if being assertive does not lead to our ideal outcome at least we are able to walk away knowing that we tried our best.
The best way to become more assertive is practice. It is easy to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable. However, over time this leads to a gradual loss of confidence. By setting ourselves targets and working on them we can learn to become more assertive.
Relaxation techniques can be used to help us feel less anxious as we complete these targets.
The Centre for Clinical Interventions provide a free self-help module - Assertiveness.