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What does assertiveness mean and why is it important?

– What does assertiveness mean and why is it important?

What does assertiveness mean and why is it important?


Most people see assertiveness as saying ‘NO’, which is a limited and harmful definition. It is difficult to learn it when assertiveness is seen in this way. Just focusing on the capacity to say ‘no’ is not enough. It does not give the possibility of being assertive, it only teaches selective behavior. A better definition could be:


Assertiveness means an ability to freely express feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a direct,
honest and appropriate way.


So, it does not mean only refusing, denying or simply saying ‘no’, but expressing what we feel and think at the moment.


This is a very important ability which will help you to be yourself, give you the possibility to change your mind, saying that you don’t understand something. Moreover, it allows living in harmony and not giving up ourselves. 


Being assertive benefits not only ourselves but also the relationships we have, it allows others to like and respect us as we really are, even if we disagree with them. 


Skills You Need describes assertiveness as a balance point between passive and aggressive behavior. 


Passive behavior

Being passive means being obedient to the wishes of others and being unable to hold to your rights. Being passive results in failure to communicate thoughts or feelings and results in people doing things they really do not want to do in the hope that they might please others.


Aggressive behavior

Being aggressive means to undermine the feeling and views of other people.


Assertive behavior 

represents the balance between passive and aggressive behavior, where the thoughts and wishes are openly expressed and the views from others are respected.


To learn more about assertiveness check out THIS article.