Learning assertiveness skills will help you to be true to yourself, communicate your preferences, stand up for what is important to you and be more effective in your relationships. Assertiveness refers to a pattern of social behaviours that help us to openly and honestly communicate our opinions and needs in a calm way, while being fair and kind to others. Assertiveness is different to being aggressive, which involves forcefully stating our wishes and can leave the other person feeling attacked. It is also different to being passive, where we are overly focused on the needs of others and don’t act on our initiative or stand up for ourselves. When we are assertive we are clear about our wishes and at the same time we acknowledge the preferences of the other person. It is helpful to be assertive in relationships, because it enables everyone to express their opinions and have their needs met. A key part of being assertive is noticing that other people have different preferences and needs. The aim is to communicate well and work together to finding a solution or compromise that works for each person.
The Assertive tools will teach you a range of assertiveness skills. However, it is important to note that using them may feel uncomfortable or strange at first. It is important to carry on anyway, as the skills will become easier to use the more you practice them.
You will find it easier to learn assertiveness skills if you take some time to think about the situations and behaviours you would like to address. Make a list of the situations where you would like to be more assertive. Rate each situation from 0-100 in terms of how challenging the situation is. Start practicing your skills in the situations that are less challenging.