by Lesley Kim

Hi everyone! This is my first post on my new category, Empowering You. This post was created with the help of information from Centre for Clinical Interventions. Enjoy =)

being assertive

Being assertive is an important ability to have.  As women, we have become used to putting others’ needs, thoughts, opinions, and ideas before our own.  Sometimes we do this out of love, consideration, or just to prevent conflict.  But one thing to learn is that to be assertive and to communicate our own thoughts, needs and wants in an honest, respectful way is a healthy way to communicate.

One misconception about being assertive is that it is being aggressive.  Assertiveness is actually the perfect balance between being passive and being aggressive.

Assertiveness is a way of communicating your thoughts, needs and wants in an open way.  Some characteristics of assertiveness are:

  • Firm, relaxed voice,
  • Sincerity
  • Listening to others
  • Respectful eye contact
  • Showing appropriate facial expressions

The importance of being assertive means that when you stand up for yourself and needs in a respectful way, you will have a higher self esteem.  You will also be expressing what you want, and increasing the chances of getting what you want. Expressing yourself in an assertive way means that there is little chance of resentment building up.

Manuel J Smith published a book in 1975, “When I say No I feel Guilty,” which shaped many current ideas about assertiveness.  He mentioned rights that we have as people including:

  • You have the right to say no
  • You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses to justify your behavior
  • You have the right to change your mind
  • You have the right to disagree with someone’s opinion.
  • You have the right to say I don’t care
  • You have the right to say I don’t know
  • You have the right to be illogical when making decisions
  • You have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them

These rights are intertwined with being responsible and respectful of other people.  That is what makes being assertive different from being aggressive.