Being assertive is something you may normally consider confident people do naturally. If you are trying to improve your confidence, then assertiveness training could really help you. Learning to act and speak in a more assertive way could help you overcome several obstacles in your life such as shyness, low self esteem and a lack of confidence.

What is assertiveness exactly?
Some mistakenly think that being assertive means being pushy or selfish in order to get your own way but this is not true and is an extremely misguided view. Assertive behaviour is positive and will bring you results in your dealings with others. Not being assertive is one way to cultivate low confidence, self esteem and worse. If you are an assertive person you will be confident to stand up and be counted, you will put your opinion forward and stand by it. You will not be quiet and go ignored. Normally because of the perceived risk involved in expressing yourself openly like this rather than keeping quiet means you need a certain level of confidence. If you want to conquer shyness or become more effective socially you need to be more assertive. Simply put, assertiveness is asking for what you want or speaking up for yourself when you feel strongly that you have something to say.

Why is being assertive important to you?
  • Relationships - expressing your feelings and being able to ask what you want means you will be happier in your relationships and this is more likely to make for a happier partner.
  • Career - those who are passive at work are often undervalued and ignored for promotion. It is those who put themselves forward and ask for responsibility that are given it. Being more assertive will bring you better opportunities and more job satisfaction.
  • Family - it is important to compromise whether you are a son, daughter or parent but it is also important to be assertive in decisions where you need to state what you want. Women are especially in need of being more assertive or the demands on them can be unbearable.
  • Friendships - any friendship should be on an equal footing. When one person starts to demand too much of the other it is time to reassess that friendship. Being assertive and telling your friend honestly what you think is very important and being passive can make you very unhappy.
  • Success and ambitions - if you set yourself any goal you will need to be assertive with others who may try to dissuade you or stand in your way. Again, being assertive just means declaring your intention to do something and claiming your right to be what you want to be.
  • Self esteem - if you are passive and feel that you have not spoken up for yourself in any situation, not only may you lose out but you will feel terrible inside. This feeling may even cause you to lose confidence and if it continues could even lead to depression.

Assertiveness is a positive quality! Beware though, some will tell you being assertive is being selfish. Not so. As long as your assertiveness does not hurt anyone else and as long as you state your wishes calmly and confidently you are not acting selfishly. You have a right to be yourself and do what you feel is right for you. Selfishness is when you don't care about others, only yourself. What being assertive is all about is respect for yourself and this will also reflect outwards as you begin to respect others as having equal rights as you.

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