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The Advantages of Assertiveness | Assertiveness Basics

  • Assertiveness is considered the most effective communication and behavioral style, mainly because it triggers a wide range of positive results.
  • In general, Assertiveness promotes high levels of physical and emotional well-being and offers the best management of both personal and professional aspects of life.

At a PERSONAL LEVEL, this is how Assertiveness can optimize your life:

THE ASSERTIVE MINDSET

The assertive principles are reflected in a person’s mindset. This will help the way you relate to yourself and others. For example, an assertive mindset promotes equality among people, the achievement of personal goals without causing harm to others, and an internal locus of control – the person considers that they are the ones in control when it comes to their own life.

OPTIMIZED DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES

Assertiveness allows a clearer perspective on one’s significant goals and the options available for achieving them. An optimized assertiveness-driven decision-making process is flexible and rooted in methods of critical thinking.

OPTIMIZED EMOTION REGULATION

How we think shows up in our emotions. When our thinking patterns prevent the creation of a wide range of inner conflicts or provide the methods to deal with them efficiently when they occur, the same will be reflected in the emotions we experience. Less mental conflict means fewer experiences that involve negative emotions, especially those at high intensities. This will often correlate with lower, manageable stress levels.

INDEPENDENCE

Assertiveness supports cognitive, emotional, and social freedom and independence. As a predominantly assertive person, you mainly rely on your own resources to bring about the desired outcomes in your life.

AUTHENTICITY

Since you are comfortable with who you are and know how to move forward in your life, you will also feel comfortable sharing an accurate image of yourself in social settings. Increased authenticity also means a lower occurrence of passive-aggressive behaviors.

INCREASED SELF-CONFIDENCE

You know your strengths, you can reasonably estimate what you can achieve and can devise a structured plan on how to achieve what you want. This will make it easier for you to continue pursuing realistic goals that matter to you with the confidence that you can attain them.

OPTIMIZED SELF-ESTEEM

As a primarily assertive individual, you know you matter. Your opinions, goals, needs, and emotions are just as important as anyone else’s. Therefore, you deserve equal treatment and chances.

CLEARER SELF-IMAGE

Passive individuals would rather focus on their vulnerabilities, while aggressive individuals would rather entertain an inflated perspective regarding their skills and social role. Primarily assertive individuals tend to have a comprehensive, more objective perspective and understanding of who they really are, their interests, and their strengths.

INCREASED SELF-AWARENESS

Assertiveness promotes a clear separation of the individual and his traits from the traits, values, and goals that pertain to other people. Passive individuals have difficulties in seeing themselves as whole, independent persons, while aggressive individuals may project their own traits and intentions onto others in an attempt to incorporate the world around them into their own perspective on how the world is or should be, with no regard for the other individuals who are also part of it and who have the same rights as they do.

INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF ONE’S RESPONSIBILITY

Knowing what is in their control and what elements of a context are fixed or dependent on other factors, predominantly assertive individuals can properly decide when to assume responsibility for a decision or outcome and when not to. This understanding also has the power to regulate emotions – one does not stress over things they cannot control, and also allows better social connections since the individual can separate their own actions from the effects produced in another person’s life. What one does is within that person’s control, but how the other person responds is not.

INCREASED NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES

Whether in personal or professional contexts, you don’t simply wait for an opportunity to arise. Assertive individuals can also create opportunities for themselves and others.¬†

MORE TIME

Primarily assertive people can prioritize their significant goals and therefore can decide which distractions or irrelevant elements to eliminate from their personal and professional contexts. This will create more time for the things that truly matter to you.

THE ABILITY TO TURN NEGATIVITY INTO POSITIVITY

Assertiveness is directed toward growth and positive outcomes for the individual. It promotes the activation of one’s inner resources. Those resources may allow a person to identify the points of potential growth, even in otherwise undesirable or negative situations. This means more than effectively managing a bad context, it’s finding a way to use that context to improve either one’s own life or a social context.

INCREASED ABILITY TO ADAPT

Assertive individuals can successfully assess an environment and find ways to connect to it in a manner that can help them adapt to it and thrive. Primarily passive individuals would rather let the environment shape them, while aggressive individuals may rather try to change the environment to fit their needs with no concern for the consequences their actions might have on the environment and on other people.

OPTIMIZED TOLERANCE TO UNCERTAINTY

A primarily assertive individual understands what is in their control, what they can change and what elements in their environment cannot be modified. They also understand that the attempt to modify fixed things would only mean using their resources in a reckless way that may leave them exhausted and with no further elements to invest in realistic, attainable goals.

OPTIMIZED ATTITUDE TOWARD DIVERSITY

Recognizing value in themselves and others will allow the person to have a positive, supportive attitude toward people and contexts that do not display the same traits, attitudes, or opinions, and who do not pursue the same goals that they do.

INCREASED MOTIVATION AND DETERMINATION

Assertiveness sets the scene for increased inner motivation. The person can identify the significant goals that they really want to pursue and since they understand the importance of those desired outcomes in relation to their own purpose and life, the determination to achieve them will be higher.

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

Realistic goals, fewer inner conflicts, more positive or neutral emotions, higher levels of inner motivation. These factors and many others participate in the creation of an environment that allows the person to focus on their tasks and perform them in a way that is highly likely to generate the desired results. This means that the assertive individual will not only complete more tasks – higher quantity – but also that they have the chance to accomplish more in their personal and professional life – higher quality.

A [MORE] BALANCED LIFE

Balancing personal and professional interests and responsibilities is something that comes easier to people who entertain an assertive mindset. They understand that their resources are finite, need to be replenished in various ways and can prioritize their needs accordingly. They can also assess the costs and wins of every context and can determine which activities should be included in their everyday schedule.

Among the SOCIAL ADVANTAGES OF ASSERTIVENESS, we find the following:

HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS

Authenticity, mutual respect, and genuine support are great elements of healthy, nurturing relationships. Assertiveness promotes all of those segments of social connection and provides the setting for growth, collaboration, and mutual validation and recognition among individuals. Predominantly assertive people not only know how to build strong relationships but also how to assess the existing ones. Through this strategy, one can decide which connections are promoting individual and relational well-being, and which are toxic and should rather be stopped.

ASSESSMENT OF AND DISCONNECTION FROM TOXIC CONTEXTS

Predominantly assertive people have a better chance at recognizing contexts that will not benefit them and their significant goals and will know which situations present an opportunity for them to grow and which ones would rather bring about undesirable results. This will allow them to disconnect from toxic contexts and focus on environments that bring them closer to achieving their significant goals.

HIGH EMPATHY 

Assertive principles promote equality, collaboration, and respect among people. If your mindset is a predominantly assertive one, you will treat others in a considerate way and will try to understand how your actions can affect others. Social projection of high levels of [reasonable] empathy and related attitudes include behaviors and skills such as being present, active listening, delivery of constructive feedback, and the availability and interest to understand the perspective of the person you’re engaging with.

OPTIMIZED MANAGEMENT OF CRITICISM

Assertive people do not allow criticism to erode their feeling of self-worth, their self-esteem, or self-confidence. They are able to tell the difference between justified and unjustified criticism and their actions will be a reflection of that understanding. They will thrive on the use of the opportunities contained by justified, constructive criticism and will stir away from the effects of unjustified criticism and personal attacks. Assertive people will also engage in the delivery of constructive feedback and criticism, rather than unjustified versions of criticism.

OPTIMIZED MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICTS

Just like in the case of the optimized management of criticism, having a predominantly assertive mindset will help you deal with conflicts better. Assertive people mainly behave in a non-aggressive way, and will not engage in conflicts in a way that transforms disagreements into personal attacks. This also means fewer conflicts. When it comes to Assertiveness, Conflict is not necessarily avoided, but it is managed in a constructive, objective way, without allowing it to escalate into violence. This includes the ability to recognize highly-aggressive contexts that should not be dealt with through methods and strategies pertaining to an assertiveness-based approach.

OPTIMIZED PROMOTION OF ONE’S ABILITIES AND SKILLS

As an assertive individual, you will be able to promote and showcase your abilities and strengths better, mainly because you can identify them in an objective way and have the self-confidence to present your results in a social setting. This will make it easier to optimize your results based on the feedback you receive and will be able to find collaborations with those who share your interests and goals.

COMFORTABLE SWITCH BETWEEN LEADER/FOLLOWER ROLE

There are contexts in which primarily assertive individuals assume the role of the leader. It is usually in those fields where they know their knowledge and skills can help them change a situation for the better. They also understand that there are many more contexts in which they need to assume the role of a follower in contexts such as those that imply learning a new skill, the pursuit of goals that they did not initiate and in relation to which other people have a better understanding and ability to set the steps required for success. The assertive person’s self-esteem does not get diminished in contexts where they do not hold leading roles and their aggressiveness does not increase when given the power of a leader.

RESISTANCE TO MANIPULATION

Independent individuals who can rely on their own resources to succeed and who know their own place and role socially are less vulnerable to manipulation. When internal validation is the one that matters the most to you, external factors that may intend to jeopardize your self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-determination lose most or all of their force against you.

ASSIST THE SUCCESS AND GROWTH OF OTHERS

Assertive people find it easy to offer praise and positive feedback to people whose results they appreciate and whose skills and abilities they admire. They are generous in offering advice and assistance when asked to do so and in general, will inspire and help others activate their inner potential and achieve their goals.

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS

Understanding your rights allows you to identify those contexts where infringement happens. Assertive people will take the necessary steps to ensure that their rights are respected, their voices are heard, and that their justified actions will be acknowledged by others. They will also speak out and protect those whose voices need more social power to be heard.

PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL CHANGE

Assertive individuals have the potential to bring about meaningful, positive, long-lasting social changes. Their ability to consider the rights and interests of all the parties involved, as well as their interest in continuous personal and social development and growth, will often put them in the role of initiators and/or supporters of impressive social changes. They take responsibility for the effects of the change and will continue adjusting their methods to achieve a better, if not the best possible result.

  • The advantages presented in this article are not necessarily in a causality relation with assertiveness, but many of these positive outcomes can be observed in primarily assertive individuals.