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Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive to defend a right point of view or a relevant statement. In the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it is a skill that can be learned and a mode of communication.

Joseph Wolpe initially explored the use of assertiveness as a means of "reciprocal inhibition" of anxiety.

Wolpe's belief was that a person could not be both assertive and anxious at the same time, and thus being assertive would inhibit anxiety.

The goals of assertiveness training include:

  • increased awareness of personal rights

  • differentiation between non-assertiveness and assertiveness

  • differentiation between passive–aggressiveness and aggressiveness

  • learning both verbal and non-verbal assertiveness skills.

Assertive communication involves respect for the boundaries of oneself and others. It also presumes an interest in the fulfilment of needs and wants through cooperation.

Principles of assertive behavior

  1. Taking responsibility for your own behavior. At its core, assertiveness is a philosophy of personal responsibility. That is, we are talking about the fact that we are responsible for our own behavior and have no right to blame other people for our reaction to their behavior.

  2. Demonstration of self-respect and respect for other people. The main component of assertiveness is the presence of self-respect and respect for other people. If you don't respect yourself, then no one will respect you.

  3. Effective communication. In this case, the following three qualities are the main ones - honesty, openness and directness in conversation, but not at the expense of the emotional state of the other person. It's about being able to say what you think or feel about an issue without upsetting your communication partner.

  4. Demonstration of confidence and positive attitude. Assertive behavior involves developing confidence and a positive attitude. Self-confidence is related to two parameters: self-respect and the knowledge that we are professionals who are good at our craft.

  5. Ability to listen carefully and understand. Assertiveness requires the ability to listen carefully and the desire to understand the point of view of another person. We all consider ourselves good listeners, but the question arises, how often do we, when listening to another person, move from facts to assumptions, and how often do we interrupt others in order to quickly state our point of view?

  6. Negotiations and reaching a working compromise. The desire to achieve a working compromise is a very useful quality. Sometimes there is a need to find a way out of the current situation, which would suit all the parties involved in it.

You also have the right:

  1. Express your feelings;

  2. Express your opinions and beliefs;

  3. Say "yes" or "no";

  4. Change your mind;

  5. Say "I don't understand";

  6. Be yourself and not adapt to others;

  7. Do not take on someone else's responsibility;

  8. Ask for something;

  9. Set your own priorities;

  10. Expect to be listened to and taken seriously;

  11. Make mistakes;

  12. Be illogical when making decisions;

  13. Say "I don't care".

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