Who hasn’t heard of assertiveness? This term has been used a lot lately, but do you really know what it is?
Communication can be passive, aggressive or assertive , an intermediate point that constitutes one of the keys to success in life.
Why I want to talk about assertiveness
A few days ago I was sitting on the terrace of a bar eating quietly until I became uncomfortable with the manager’s behavior; she addressed a waitress aggressively, and was not only what she said but how she said it .
At that moment, my face was flushed, and I was in a hurry after that downpour, especially in public. Inevitably I remembered situations where I had been treated the same way and communicated something with aggression.
I realized that what made me feel worst was having communicated with passivity, that is, allowing different people in different areas of my life to violate me with their way of talking to me.
However, my communication style changed when I learned to be assertive . This is why I want to talk to you about assertive communication.
What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness implies being able to express our thoughts, feelings, emotions and decisions in a firm manner, respecting ourselves and others .
Therefore, if we are assertive we do not allow others to decide for us and ignore our ideas, contributions and values. By doing this we are communicating with passivity.We can also, on the contrary, impose our ideas without taking anyone into account; this is what is known as aggressive communication.
However, in communication it is not only what is said that is important, but also how things are said that is as important, if not more so.
Ways to improve communication
Learning assertive communication techniques, that is, that allow you to respect yourself and others, is fundamental to achieve your goals or objectives and to feel good with yourself and others .
Here are some techniques to help you develop or improve your assertive communication. They are simple habits with which, little by little, we will notice that our interactions flow as never before.
1. Understand that no one can read your mind
You may think your partner knows you want to go to the movies to see a premiere, that your family and friends know how much it bothers you when they show up at your house unannounced, or that your boss knows you want a promotion.
Probably on many occasions you get angry and frustrated when you see that they do not please or respect you, and these emotions cause you to communicate aggressively or, on the contrary, passively, opting for an attitude and style of communication that ends up damaging you and your relationship with others.
If you want people to take into account your wishes and needs, say what they are, expressing yourself in such a way that others do not feel attacked or offended .
2. Identify what you want and seek to get it
Start by identifying your own needs, wants, goals or objectives. Don’t expect anyone to identify them, much less fulfill them, for you.
Find a way to get what you want without harming others, and if you need help ask openly .
3. Uses “I” phrases
If you use first person sentences you reaffirm your ideas, opinions, emotions , wishes and rights. In addition, you will let others know what you think without making it sound like an accusation.
For example, it is generally more appropriate and respectful to say “I disagree” than “You are wrong.
4. Learn to listen
Communicating assertively means knowing how to listen correctly and actively . This is only possible with an open attitude towards the message the other person is conveying.
Remember: others have the right to think and feel differently than you do.
5. Learning to say “no”
Learn to be aware of your right to say “no” without feeling guilty or obliged to give explanations and excuses. In the same way, others also have the right to say “no” to you.
Benefits of assertive communication
You will probably be increasingly motivated to communicate assertively as you experience the following benefits:
- It increases self-esteem and confidence; people who are able to communicate assertively have a healthy self-esteem .
- It helps you have more confidence in who you are and what you express.
- Improve your emotional well-being.
- It makes you mature because in communications flows respect and not the search for reason.
- It helps to build healthy and constructive social relationships and avoids attracting toxic people (or worse, you becoming one).
- It allows you to achieve your personal goals, thus avoiding emotional distress.
- It enables you to set your own limits.
- It helps you judge your own needs, establish your priorities and make your decisions .
- It makes it easier to understand errors, both your own and those of others. Assertive communication makes us more human.
This article would probably be of great help to the manager I told you about at the beginning of the article, and not only to acquire the ability to communicate assertively.
Through this valuable tool for life we indirectly acquire leadership and teamwork skills, empathy , self-esteem and, in short, emotional well-being.