Being Assertive

Contributed by Kalindi  Mehta edited by PSY LENS team

Many of us struggle with voicing our thoughts and feelings. People around us ask, ‘What’s up? Tell me what’s on your mind.” At such moments, we feel like we cannot say anything, we often become quiet or give a shy smile and say “nothing”! Well, nothing of substance anyway. Why does it become so hard to express inner thoughts to a second person? As a collectivistic society, we often find submissive attitudes to be best adjustments, there is often a fear of rejection and humiliation. We often see most people bearing their pains in silence and not speaking up about their circumstances, and we mistakenly label this as a virtue of strength.

An important quality in the modern world is ASSERTIVENESS. It refers to the skill of being able to stand up for your opinions and beliefs in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive, yet driving your point home. This helps create a positive and nurturing environment. To be assertive, an individual must feel free to voice his or her thoughts and opinions, express his or her needs, feel at liberty to disagree if required.

By saying things like, ‘I completely understand what you’re saying, but I have to disagree.’ “Could you explain the reasoning behind your decision, so I can try to understand what you’re doing”. Some things that people don’t generally speak up about, may encase underlying negative feelings or hostility. If brought up in a neutral manner, it improves communication and resolves issues.

Assertiveness doesn’t mean getting our way out or wanting only our interest catered. It also doesn’t mean we disregard or disrespect others rights, it simply means expressing ourselves in a firm way in situations that challenges our identity.

It can be difficult to be assertive in situations when people are rigid and not open to negotiations or are hostile, but for our betterment Being ASSERTIVE is the Key ….

Here are some ways to become more ASSERTIVE  

  1. Know yourself (worth/value) and your beliefs well (Self-acceptance and self-worth)
  2. Learn to put your needs and wants confidently and positively…
  3. Acknowledge that you cannot control other people’s thoughts and behaviour.
  4. Accept compliments and criticism graciously.
  5. Learn to say “NO”.
  6. Understand the importance of using I and Me and myself in conversation (own it)
  7. Be ready to negotiate in certain situations (buy time /empathise)

Advantages of being ASSERTIVE:

 There are significant advantages to being Assertive

  1. You create WIN-WIN situations for yourself and others
  2. You begin to solve problems better
  3. You can become more confident and decisive
  4. Your relationships become stronger and healthier
  5. You gain the trust and respect of others

Assertiveness is a way of life, and ultimately makes for a great personal quality. So here is your task for TODAY Task 1. Try to be assertive in one situation today!


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