Assertiveness. It’s a very important character trait, one of the most important ones you can have. It’s something that we should all strive to be better at. Assertiveness is the foundation of a great deal of our communication as well as a lot of our mental struggles. It’s so useful when used correctly…but I continue to find people that don’t truly know what this word means. So let’s define it right now:
assertive | əˈsərdiv | adjective
boldly self-assured; confident without being aggressive; someone who is assertive behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe
So in essence, being assertive is being confident. But it’s not only about being confident, it’s about using that confidence to assert yourself in different situations.
Why am I writing about this?
I’ve seen way too many people that have been negatively affected by a lack of assertiveness. My goal is to show people how understanding assertiveness will improve their lives.
Throughout my life people have come to me with different problems, different questions, different scenarios – and nine times out of ten, the way to fix it was being assertive. It could be an uncomfortable situation – someone was making someone else uncomfortable and they were afraid to speak up. It could be a relationship problem – the communication wasn’t as direct as it could have been, and that led to a bunch of unanswered questions and rampaging thoughts that eventually culminated in an emotional outburst.
People are definitely different. Some people are naturally loud, some are naturally quiet, some always speak their minds, some never do. But whatever your personality, however you carry yourself – assertiveness plays a part in your life in some way. An opportunity to be assertive will display itself somehow, and I want to help people recognize these opportunities and take advantage of them in order to improve their quality of life.
How can assertiveness be helpful?
Now, there are many different scenarios in which people have the opportunity to be assertive. I’ll touch on two before we’re done here. But definitely expect more articles about this topic. I believe assertiveness is one of the most important things I’ll talk about in this blog. It’s a huge part of the reason why I started the Thoughtversation in the first place.
1. Assertiveness improves self-worth
Self-worth is one “sphere of assertiveness”, if you will (here is a more in-depth article about it).Take apologizing, for example. Let’s say you’ve offended someone. We’ve all done this. We’ve all had to apologize, we’ve all been in the wrong before. In a situation like this, being assertive gives you the ability to navigate the situation in the best way possible.
Instead of immediately apologizing, try to find out what the problem is. Have a discussion, ask some probing questions. You’re not necessarily in the wrong just because someone else is upset. You should place enough value in yourself to want to resolve the situation rather than run from it. Consistently apologizing at the first sign of trouble is an indication that you’re devaluing your own opinions. Of course, there are plenty of times where an immediate apology is the best course of action. Sometimes you might want to wait a bit before you talk about it, especially when the situation is a little heated. But make sure that you don’t immediately apologize every single time. Choosing to apologize is so much better than apologizing out of obligation.
2. Assertiveness improves communication
This one can go all sorts of directions – communication with friends, family, romantic interests, coworkers, and even random people. But all of these situations are different and should be handled differently.
Here’s the key concept: “Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking”. It sounds so simple, right? But the reality is that this is a struggle for a whole lot of people. I’ll go deeper into this in the future (here’s the article), but you can try to apply this principle now. The next time you instinctively censor yourself when you have something to say, say it anyway. Even if you think it will be embarrassing. People generally have more respect for someone that isn’t afraid to speak their mind.
Now let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean to ALWAYS say what you’re thinking. That would not be the best idea, for obvious reasons. It just means to be in control over what you choose to say. Don’t let your fear silence you before anyone else even has the opportunity!
If you take anything away from this article, it should be the sentence from two paragraphs ago: Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. You can use this if you want to summarize this article to a friend after you send them the link (hint hint).
But with that being said, hopefully you enjoyed the read. Stay tuned for more things like this, and also some things not like this. Assertiveness is part of the “Life Advice” category. Life Advice will be a big part of the Thoughtversation, but there will be plenty of other content too (see my Welcome Post for more detail). And, of course, all of it will be geared towards having a thoughtful conversation. You can join my mailing list here or at the bottom of this page to stay updated and receive bonus content.
Has this article helped you? What other ways can you be assertive? Please let me know in the comments below!