What does being assertive consist of?

Jonah Lester
What does being assertive consist of?

Assertiveness is a style of communication that allows you to express thoughts, feelings and opinions at the right time, in an easy way, without experiencing nervousness, considering the rights of yourself and others.

Assertive communication is based on a positive personal attitude when interacting with others and consists of expressing opinions and evaluations avoiding disqualifications, reproaches and confrontations. It is the appropriate way to interact with people when expressing desires and feelings, both pleasant, in a direct way, without denying or belittling the rights of others and without creating or feeling inhibition or maladaptive anxiety (which prevents relating to others ).

It is to defend oneself, without attacking or being passive, against behaviors of others that we consider uncooperative, inappropriate or unreasonable. Be aware that we have rights and we must respect them, so as not to be overwhelmed as people.


  • What does the word assertiveness mean?
    • It is important
    •  This implies
  • How to communicate assertively
    • Submission and aggressiveness
  • The importance of our thoughts
  • What will assertive communication do you?
    • This will allow you

What does the word assertiveness mean?

It means respecting and expressing what you need, feel and think and act accordingly, without passivity or aggressiveness.

Assertive communication occurs when a message is expressed in which words and gestures convey clarity, and at the same time, an attitude of empathy towards the interlocutor.In other words, it is about communicating one's ideas sincerely and creating a climate positive and non-conflict

Sometimes we call it “knowing how to say things” or at the other extreme, “not being overwhelmed”, and we usually refer to being able to ask for what is ours, without needing to pass over anyone or stop saying what is really ours. we think for fear of the reaction.

It is important

  1. Examine your own interests and estimate to what extent they should be respected. Not a momentary whim, but what I really want.
  2. Observe the specific behavior of the other and determine their behavior style.
  3. Manage feelings in front of others so as not to have aggressive or passive behaviors. Knowing what who is in front of me is like, I can understand how what I say is going to suit him.
  4. Put yourself in the place of the other and treat him assertively, even if he does not behave in the same way. Not entering games or dynamics that take us away from our goal.
  5. Feel self-esteem, be sure that we want it and we deserve it.

 This implies

  • Awareness of one's worth. 
  • Self-confidence. 
  • Firmness in one's own conceptions, feelings and thoughts. 
  • Self expression.

Assertiveness is a tool that allows you to optimize human relationships; it is not simply saying what you think. It means understanding your needs, taking responsibility for your emotions, and ultimately connecting with others..

If you focus on understanding your needs and those of others, and not winning the arguments, your way of relating will totally change. Because deep down our needs as human beings are very similar, and that will allow you to create emotional bonds.

But this requires a radical change in the way you think and express yourself. Dr. Marshall Rosenberg in his book "Non-violent communication" states that assertive communication starts from the fundamental principle of empathy: behind each of our actions there is an unmet need.

How to communicate assertively

  • Observe and communicate the facts without judgment: describing what you have observed without adding any personal evaluation. With this you will increase the chances that they will listen to you.
  • Identify and express your feelings: This involves a mental process that involves a path to action, in which:

a) You receive information
b) You mix it with your knowledge and needs to transform it into thoughts
c) Those thoughts cause you feelings
d) You act based on those feelings

  • Find your unmet needs: The key is to focus on describing your inner feelings rather than explaining your thoughts or interpretations of the actions of others. For example: "I feel lonely" describes an emotional experience of yours, while "I feel that you don't love me" is an interpretation of the other person's feelings, and as such it may be wrong..
  • Make an active and concrete request: Focus on what you want and be as specific as possible. Turn your requests into concrete actions that others can take. The clearer you are, the more likely you are to meet your needs

Submission and aggressiveness

A submissive person, without realizing it, is holding feelings of frustration for not having been able to express what he wanted. This is how he becomes filled with discomfort and discomfort with himself, until the internal pressure can reach such a level that a stimulus, which on other occasions would not have affected him in the least, such as a simple pout or a momentary lack of attention, it can lead to a violent impulsive reaction, and the recipient can feel deeply hurt in their self-esteem.

When we affirm that assertiveness implies saying what one feels or thinks at the moment and in the appropriate way, it precisely maintains that this behavior tries to avoid outcomes such as the one described above.

The importance of our thoughts

The thoughts or cognitions and the importance they have on our behaviors or moods affect the people around us. It is as if we were storing cognitions in a kind of black box, which exists in our mind. They are the internal processing of information that we all have and that can adopt at least one of these modalities: self-verbalizations, images and smells.

These cognitions or types of thoughts are conjugated and finally, by mental economy, they are conformed into mental schemes, firmly established and most of the time without being questioned by whoever owns them. They can help us to see and act in life in an assertive way or, on the contrary, harm us and weaken our self-esteem, causing us to behave in a submissive and insecure way..

This is how we come across self-fulfilling prophecies, those that are given by irrational thoughts or ideas that accompany all people and can be easily identified by their large number of semantic absolutives (phrases that sound like absolute truths). For example, I can never do anything right, or people are always bored with me. In general, they are tremendously punishing and harmful ideas for oneself, since they silently filter into our thoughts and we do not question them; this leads to an expected outcome, in the negative or inhibitory sense of the behavior.

If every time we make a mistake or make a mistake, we tell ourselves internally, I am a fool, little by little we believe we are less suitable people in relation to others and above all, we generate an inner experience of personal impairment or devaluation.

These types of ideas can be successfully combated. For this it is necessary to restructure cognitively or in other words, change the psychological chips.

What will assertive communication do you?

The soul of assertive communication is empathy, your ability to connect with your own needs and those of others to find points of collaboration. And that is tremendously comforting.

This will allow you

  • Feeling entitled to make requests that you previously avoided for fear of annoying or losing friends
  • Better understand your feelings and needs, something fundamental for your self-esteem
  • Stop feeling attacked and understand that when someone is angry it is because they have not been able to satisfy some of their needs
  • Open the way to collaborate to find joint solutions
  • Deepen conversations when others state their needs
  • Feel more secure showing your feelings and vulnerability

Assertive communication is not just a way to defend your rights or say no. It is a new way of relating to the people around you.

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