Lesson 10 – Increasing Your Assertiveness

Increasing Your Assertiveness

Our need to act assertively could be a difficulty we need to face. Acting assertively does not  mean getting aggressive, angry, or disrespectful. Assertive behaviour means standing up for personal rights and acting in ways that express thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways that do not violate the rights of others.

There is a formula that can be used to act assertively, to assist you when you are not sure how to express your thoughts and feelings. There are several variations to this formula, and the formula does not work in every situation, but it can still be useful.

  • When you (specific behaviour)
  • I feel (specific feelings)
  • I would appreciate it if you (suggested change of behaviour)

Example: “When you fail to greet me in the mornings, I feel like I have done something to offend you. I would appreciate it if you could greet me every morning.”

Think of scenarios where you could use this formula. Practice the wording to yourself, and then try it out in a fairly non-stressful situation and see how it works. Like most things, it gets easier with practice.

You don’t have to act assertively in every situation. This formula is not the only way to deal with difficult or stressful situations. For example, the majority of us dislike being criticised, however, instead of becoming defensive, react in an alternative assertive way allowing the criticism to prick your curiosity. Ask questions like: “Why do you feel that way?” or ” What exactly did you mean when you said….”

5 Phrases for becoming assertive