Assertiveness: the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. In the field of psychotherapy, it is a learnable skill and mode of communication. (Wiki)
In this vlog, I want to address the incredibly common assertion that “being non-confrontational” = KINDNESS.
Umm…no. Not quite friends.
You’re likely causing MORE HARM to your relationships by NOT letting people in on how you feel or what you think.
This doesn’t at all mean I am giving you a free pass to be a raging bitch or asshole. Quite the contrary actually.
Remember, what we all CRAVE is being accepted for who we are! Well, in order for anyone to give that to us, we have to actually show up!
In the passive style [of communication], all the world is allowed on stage but for you — your role is to be the audience and supporter for everyone else. In the aggressive style, you’re allowed on stage but you spend most of your time shoving the others off, like in a lifelong sumo match. With the assertive style, everyone is welcome onstage. You are entitled to be a full person, including your uniqueness, and so are others.
– Randy Paterson, PhD
Haven’t you heard that sappy saying – Intimacy means Into-Me-See…?? I would roll my eyes BUT it’s kinda true.
We feel closest to those who validate us; good, bad, or downright nutty at times. It’s actually what makes relationships so incredibly fulfilling and downright f’ing terrifying too.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to ever agree with anyone, in order to be assertive or even validate his/ her feelings. You just have to view yourselves as being EQUAL and worthy of having choices.
I would love to hear from you. What’s hardest for you about assertiveness?
And to continue your exploration of whether or not you are currently assertive in your thoughts and communication, download this FREE pdf.
Tamara Powell, LMHC owns Arya Therapy Services, a Pensacola counseling and coaching practice. She provides services to individuals and couples both ONLINE and in person. Some of her favorite topics are those surrounding empowerment and truly owning one’s story which includes the intersection between vulnerability and assertiveness. Side note, Tamara is also known to be barefoot no matter where she is.