There is nothing so sad as the thought,"It might have been."

Why Do We Need To Be Able to Be Assertive?

If we do not pursue our most dearly held hopes, we are left depressed, angry, and anxious. Our self esteem suffers and we resent others who are pursuing their dreams. The most useful attitude in expanding our life is an assertive attitude.

What Is Assertiveness?

Is it being "bitchy," or mean? Violating others? Not caring about others? No. Assertiveness involves respect for both oneself and others.

Assertiveness is taking responsibility to pursue our needs without infringing upon the rights of others.

The intent of assertive behavior is to communicate honestly and directly, in a healthy and appropriate way. The intent of aggression is to dominate, to get one’s own way at the expense of another. The intent of nonassertive behavior is to avoid conflict all together which usually means one has to subordinate one’s wishes to those of another. The qualities of assertiveness fall between aggressiveness on one extreme, and nonassertiveness on the other extreme. Assertiveness is not to be confused with “aggressiveness”.

In nonassertiveness, one’s own needs are neglected. This is the “Okay, I lose”, and “You win” position. In aggressiveness, the needs of the other person are dismissed. This is the “I win”, and “You lose” position. With assertiveness, both needs are important and the focus is on establishing a “Win-Win” solution when there is a conflict. Both aggressiveness and nonassertiveness are examples of unassertive behavior.

Workshop Flier: How To Say 'No' By Finding The Hidden 'Yes'

Cost/Benefit Analysis of Avoiding Saying NO



You may experience momentary relief when you avoid potential conflicts with others You may feel irritated with others and disgusted with yourself
You can maintain a saintly self-image of always being available to help others The self-disgust lowers your self-esteem
You can feel superior, as if you never need help yourself Self esteem can be further eroded as you come to think people are close to you only because you are buying their affection with your favors
You can avoid the possibility that some people might not like your assertive behavior You become governed by other people’s priorities. You are at their beck and call – an unhappy way to live
You can avoid the possibility that some people might not understand your need to choose you own priorities You may be distracted from what you really want to accomplish in your life
You can avoid the possibility that some people might be surprised, because they don’t expect you to refuse You to have less energy, time and money to put into people and activities of your choice
You can avoid the possibility that some people might be disappointed because they are inconvenienced When you can’t give yourself permission to decide which requests you will grant and which you will refuse, you usually have a difficult time accepting other’s refusals
You can avoid the possibility that some people may feel hurt and angry because they think you have no right to refuse or that you no longer value them as a friend You put others in a position of accidentally taking advantage of you and later being subjected to your resentment that usually comes out in indirect and offensive ways.
You can avoid the possibility that You might find out that you are wrong (about other people minding your setting limits - or for being in relationships with people who don’t respect your rights as a separate human being) You neglect your real self by not choosing priorities and by not identifying yourself as an individual who has limits
You can use manipulations to get other people to do what you want without having to be direct and honest People catch on to the manipulations of your indirectness and dishonesty and lose respect for you.They often get angry with you as well

How Assertive Are You?: Quiz

Dr. Bolton's Review of "The Assertive Woman" in The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist ' Bulletin

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