Understanding Assertive Behavior

Woman shaking her finger
Woman shaking her finger
Conquer your fear of disapproval

Understanding Assertive Behavior

Assertive traits include being confident, straightforward, and honest. Assertive people express their ideas, feelings and desires without second guessing or apology. They speak firmly in a way that respects the rights of others. Being assertive is a difficult skill to master, yet with practice can transform your communication and increase your self-esteem. Keep in mind that when you speak assertively and express your honest opinion or need, you still may not receive what you desire. Others may have become accustomed to your passivity and attempt to get you to assume your weak and indifferent ways. Assertiveness is not a guarantee that others will see the world your way. Instead, it is your own permission to kindly share it anyway. 

Common Assertive Traits

1. The first and possibly the most important trait of assertive communication is to be direct and honest in the expression of your thoughts, feelings, and needs. 

Although straight forward, assertive people are responsible for their moods and words and respectful of the thoughts and opinions of others. One’s voice is strong and clear, eye contact is good, and speech is sure and deliberate. 

2. Assertive people set limits and keep others from taking advantage of them without becoming aggressive. 

They say no without being manipulated by guilt. They can firmly demand fairness, justice and stand up for they believe in and what they know is right. 

3. Individuals who are assertive and direct are problem focused. 

They attend to the difficulties at hand and can collaborate or compromise to reach solutions that benefit self and others. This maintains relational harmony without sacrificing self-interest. 

4. Individuals who are assertive give and receive respect. 

Confident in their own beliefs and opinions, they are strong enough to make their own decisions. They can form an opinion contrary to the wishes and thoughts of others. 

5. Assertive individuals are emotionally stable and display self-control even in heated or conflictual situations. 

They can listen and pay attention to conversation as it unfolds. This is done without undue anger, counterattack, or passive surrender to the control of others. 

6. People who are assertive don’t need everyone to like them. 

This reduces the tendency to passively give in or refrain from stating an opinion. 

7. Assertive people are self-assured and able to receive compliments without belittling or discounting them. 

“That’s a nice shirt.” Oh, I got it at a yard sale for a dollar, it has a snag, I think it’s faded.” Instead, they can receive the compliment as it was intended and say thank-you. 

Moving Forward Confidently

Assertive people are more confident and secure. This has great personal and interpersonal value, but it doesn’t mean that you always get your way. Being assertive will help you be honest in your emotional expression and straight-forward and direct in your communication. As you practice this skill you will manage conflict with more assurance and navigate relationships with confidence. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!