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Building Assertiveness in 4 Steps

All of us should insist on being treated fairly — to stand up for our rights without violating the rights of others. This means tactfully, justly and effectively expressing our preferences, needs, opinions and feelings.

Psychologists call that being assertive, as distinguished from being unassertive (weak, passive, compliant, self-sacrificing) or aggressive (self-centered, inconsiderate, hostile, arrogantly demanding).

Because some people want to be “nice” and “not cause trouble,” they “suffer in silence,” “turn the other cheek,” and assume nothing can be done to change their situation. The rest of us appreciate pleasant, accommodating people but whenever a nice person permits a greedy, dominant person to take advantage of him/her, the passive person is not only cheating him/herself but also reinforcing unfair, self-centered behavior in the aggressive person.

7 Comments to
Building Assertiveness in 4 Steps

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  1. I think that you should add that you should accept that you are going to make mistakes being assertive. There will be times will you be unintentionally aggressive because of the intensity of your emotions and your desire to assert your needs. Don’t beat yourself up for because people are very resilient. Instead, learn from you mistakes and allow the confidence to give you strength to assert yourself next time appropriately.

  2. I read few books on assertiveness. I need to read a lot of example, stories to understand how I can practise assertiveness in my day today life. Are there blogs or websites or any such place where I can find lots of examples of assertiveness?

  3. Learning to be assertive can be challenging. Some people find that others in their lives do not react positively to them when they become assertive. Any changes in behaviour impact on our relationships and it may be helpful to remember that other people may like us as we are….particularly if we always say yes!

  4. I love this article and gonna practice in my life to be assertive.I felt my self unassertive.I feel that people around me have no interest when I share my feelings and experiences with them.Sometimes I also do not find suitable words to share something.I hesitate to talk with strangers , I supposed I may bother them.But I am gonna practice these steps to make my life better !!!

  5. I appreciate Kenneth Lynch’s comment above. It was something I needed to hear. Making this change in my life is scary and causes me great anxiety. I have to face my manager tomorrow, I asked to meet with her, because I do not appreciate her tone with me. I feel that I am taken advantage of and that the women I work with have no interest in my experiences. All they care to do is dump their experiences onto me. I need to stop complying and start communicating my exprience regardles of them refusing to recognize that my experience is valid just as much as theirs is.

    My main problem, however is my manager. I really need her to get off my back and realize that just because I am younger than her, she needs to stop being so comfortable with her approach with me. I am really sick of her talking down to me and calling me “girlie.” I do not appreciate it.

    I am very anxious about this but I know it’s time to stand up for myself and correct a behavior that makes me unhappy at work.

    • Natalie-I know how you feel. All my life in work and family relationships I’ve let people treat me awful. I have even been in therapy which I go back to things learn at times. Its really hard to change who you’re always been. Just realize no one can do to you what you don’t allow. I just had to say no to someone in family that’s taken advantage of me for years. I started getting angrey and depressed because its so hard to tell people you can’t keep giving . I made up my mind to stand up to her and a few others. It made me feel bad for a few days and right now they are most likely thinking of me as this bad guy. As days go by I feel much better. Good luck! I hope you will feel much better.

  6. I just wanted to share a story of being assertive. I stayed in a dead-end job for quite a while, thinking I was trapped and the economy is bad, etc. I have been applying for jobs, and applied for a job, that even though I wasn’t the perfect candidate, I thought I could do a good job and learn what I needed to. I applied and got the job (yay!) My new boss offered me the lowest salary on the scale, and even though this was substantially more than I was making, I asked for more (fortunately, all of this happened via email, so I could figure out better what to say). I got $4000 more than was originally offered. I could have asked for even more, and am a little sad that I didn’t, but still it worked out. One thing I kept telling myself was “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.” I think that really sums it up for me. I felt sick asking for more, but it worked.

    Good luck everyone!



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