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The What, Why and How of Assertiveness (BLOG)

January 15, 2013

What Is Assertiveness? (From The Family Virtues Guide)

Being assertive means to be positive and confident. It is knowing that you have your own special gifts and unique combination of qualities. You are a worthy person and you deserve respect.

When you are assertive, you tell the truth about what is just. You don’t follow others. You think for yourself. If someone is trying to hurt you, lead you into trouble, or influence you to do something you feel is wrong, you protect yourself. You show the strength not to let others hurt you or influence you in negative ways.

Assertiveness is asking for what you want and need.

Assertiveness is expressing your own idea, opinions, and talents. When you do this, you serve the world in your own special way.

Why Practice Assertiveness?

Without assertiveness we would be passive. We would let others boss us around. Without assertiveness we would just react to the things that others people expect of us. Others would tell us what to do and what to think. We wouldn’t stop to figure out what we want, need, or think.

If you were too passive, you would allow other to just you or get you into trouble. You would not be able to set limits that keep you safe.

The trouble with being too passive is that your special way of being and thinking would remain unexpressed and the world would be a poorer place.

Without assertiveness you might be too aggressive. You would try to control others, push them around or hurt them. You would feel bad about yourself.

When you are assertive, others respect you. You are offering your true ideas and feelings as well as protecting yourself from things that can cause you harm. When you are assertive you choose what you will do for reasons of your own.

How Do You Practice It?

To be assertiveness, you need to remember how worthy you are. You stand up for what you know is right. You don’t allow others to treat you unjustly. You set limits with others by letting them know what you will and will not do. You listen to yourself and decide for yourself.

When you have ideas, you speak out, even if you feel shy. You are your own leader. Being assertive does not mean you control things or always get your own way. It means that when someone asks what you think or how you feel, you don’t just tell them what they want to hear. You honestly and tactfully tell them what’s true for you.

When someone suggests something that makes you feel uneasy, might hurt you or get you into trouble, you stop and think. You tell them you won’t do it. You don’t let other people bully or hurt you. You get help when you need it. You avoid being aggressive. You don’t need to hurt or boss other to feel important.

What would assertiveness look like if…

  • You start to feel inferior around some really popular kids?
  • An aggressive child starts to bully you?
  • You teacher asks the class for their opinion about a story he has just read?
  • A friend asks you to go somewhere you really don’t feel like going?
  • A group you are with tries to convince you to do something harmful?

Signs of Success

Congratulations! You are practicing assertiveness when you…

  • Recognize you are worthy of respect
  • Think for yourself
  • Tell the truth about what is just
  • Ask for what you want and need
  • Set boundaries about what is right for you
  • Freely express your thoughts and feelings

Keep trying! You need more practice when you…

  • Forget that you are person of value
  • Let other people lead you into trouble
  • Feel inferior to others
  • Tell others only what you think they want to hear
  • Are too passive
  • Are too aggressive
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