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Self-assertiveness

Self-assertiveness is having or showing the confidence and courage in stating your views, expressing your feelings, asking for what you want and enjoying your rights. All this must be done with integrity, honesty, directness and respect for others. Being assertive is looking after your own interest, and not seeking some kind of bitter confrontation with someone, so have the rightful manner when you assert.

In assertiveness, you must be fair to others by balancing their needs with your own. It is about maintaining your strong moral principles and self-respect while acknowledging their existence in other people. How you behave towards others is how you will want them to behave towards you. At times, you have to decide whether your interests override theirs or vice versa, and act accordingly. By doing that, you are demonstrating your integrity because you are truthful and sincere with yourself as well as with them.

A self-assertive person is remarkably straightforward and frank in dealing with others. You are being weak if you put all the needs of others before your own. Neither do you want to put your personal needs before those of others as you prefer a win-win situation. However, if you choose to be assertive, you just have to balance your needs with theirs, and work out the priorities. This way, you can put limits on your own behaviour and that of others.

Being self-assertive implies having the courage to say no. Many people find it difficult to say no to another person. They fear saying no to requests or demands may give them the guilt feeling, make them feel selfish, disappoint others or ignite an argument with them. The urge you have to please or not to offend the other person’s feeling is usually the underlying reason you refrain yourself from saying no. You often want to be popular and looked upon favourably by others, so saying yes is the only way you know how to do it.

Whenever you are being assertive, your body language must be in congruence with what you say in order for your assertiveness to be effective. This helps to convey the message that you mean what you say. This is because the verbal aspect of your communication accounts for only 7 percent of how you are perceived while how you look (visually) forms 55 percent of the perception. (How you sound forms 38 percent.)

Repeating what you want, at times, can be an effective form of self-assertiveness. Repeat what you want or what you want someone to do for you until the other party accedes to your demand by getting or doing what you want. But you have to be fair. You have to ensure that you are not arrogantly assertive but are entitled to what you want and have the right to insist on what is to be done for you.

You can expect criticism to be levelled at you as long as there are people. No one can escape it. How do you respond to it? It depends. To accept indiscriminately all criticisms and regard them as true is unwise, especially if they are unjustified. Some people accept criticism to please others while some react strongly to criticism. Non-assertive people remain quiet when criticized although inwardly they may not be. Depending on whether the criticism is adverse or constructive, assertive people brush them off as unfounded or accept them as feedback to work on.

In business and politics, being assertive is an asset when discussing something in order to reach an agreement. Be self-assertive when you want or don’t want something. You need not have to be angry to use assertiveness. You can apply it even when you are happy.