It is important to try to behave assertively in order to: meet and express your own needs, respect and communicate with others effectively, engage in fulfilling relationships.Assertiveness is the ability to express your feelings, opinions, beliefs, and needs directly, openly and honestly, while not violating the personal rights of others. Assertiveness does not in any way means being aggressive. Aggressive behavior is self enhancing at the expense of others. It does not take other individual’s rights into consideration.
Assertive behaviour involves acting in a way which is neither passive nor aggressive but a happy medium between the two. If you can act assertively you will express your own needs, wants and feelings, but in a manner which is constructive and which allows others the opportunity to express their own.
If you behave in a passive manner all or most of the time, then it is likely your own needs, feelings and wants will go unmet, unfulfilled and unrecognized. On the other hand if you behave in an aggressive manner it is unlikely that you will participate in relationships which are genuinely fulfilling and involve genuine communication and respect.
If you are behaving in passive or aggressive ways and would like to become more assertive, what can be helpful to you is to start to identify the thought patterns that are underpinning your non-assertive behaviour and to find effective ways of challenging or overcoming them.
Some common thoughts or beliefs underpinning passive behavior are: the thought that if you express a viewpoint that the other person does not like they will become upset. The thought that if you express your own feelings and needs you may be being selfish. The thought that you don’t deserve to have your needs met.
If these are thoughts with which you can identify then it is likely that you experience low self esteem and will benefit from information or coaching to help you improve your self esteem and deal with the negative thought patterns which contribute to your lack of assertiveness and your lack of confidence or self belief.
When to seek Assertiveness Counseling
Assertiveness Counseling involves a collaborative effort between you and your counselor. The aim is to provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment for you to address the issues that are concerning you.
If you believe, or those around you believe, that your symptoms may be impairing your life in troubling ways, then it may be time to seek help. There are treatments available to assist you in managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.