Assertiveness – Introduction
Assertiveness is a communication style that allows an individual to express their needs, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, while still considering other people’s experience. Unlike aggressive or passive-aggressive communication styles, assertiveness is used to show respect for the speaker’s own needs, but also the needs of other people.
Assertiveness training can be used to improve interpersonal relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and other people through our lives. It may be beneficial to find a psychologist in Melbourne to assist with this problem. Richmond Psychology has expertise in the area of assertiveness.
In both aggressive and assertive communication styles, an individual states their needs. The difference is that in aggressive style, the speaker often doesn’t take other people’s needs into consideration and may just be expressing emotion rather than the underlying need.
There are many factors which make assertiveness difficult.
Beliefs that are negative, unrealistic and/or unbalanced can prevent people from being assertive. Some may think it’s rude or selfish to express their needs, that it would ruin their relationships with other people, or it would be embarrassing and vulnerable.
Impoverished communication skills can be another reason for assertiveness difficulties.
Anxiety and stress can also prevent people from being assertive, as they might find it difficult to think and act in line with their values when under pressure.
One’s cultural and generational influences can also affect their assertiveness. The need for assertiveness may not be as frequent in older generations as it is in new generations. Some cultures may find assertiveness to have lesser value than in some western cultures.
People learn how to think and feel during life in every situation and activity they do. Family, friends, and society as a whole affect the way assertiveness is learned within individuals. Difficulties with assertiveness could come from family, if their parents handled conflict badly, how they acted when they did disagree, how they taught their children to deal with conflict, and which ways their children used to get what they wanted.
Even though problems with assertiveness frequently come from early childhood and adolescence, people can learn to be assertive in their adulthood and teach others to do the same. Learning to be assertive is much more important than blaming oneself or others for their difficulties.
Difficulties with assertiveness can often lead to low self-esteem, frequent feelings of stress, anxiety, and tenseness. Being unable to express one’s thoughts and feelings in a proper way can lead to building unhealthy and uncomfortable relationships, and it can lead to people blindly agreeing with or accepting other people’s offers even when they don’t want to do something.
Assertive communication can be recognized by many verbal and non-verbal characteristics. The voice of an assertive person is firm but relaxed, they speak fluently and at a steady pace. Assertive people are sincere and clear about their thoughts and feelings, they ask others for their opinions and use “I” statements such as “I want, I like, I don’t like”. They may offer constructive criticism and seek other peoples’ opinions. Non-verbal characteristics include direct eye contact, open body stance and hand movements, they smile when happy or pleased and frown when angry.
Consulting with a psychologist in Melbourne will be able to provide more information on assertiveness.