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How to Be Assertive Without Being Too Aggressive

How to Be Assertive Without Being Too Aggressive

Have you ever been in a situation where you are in a group whose opinions are not aligned with yours? What did you do? Did you keep quiet or did you express your opinions just as they express themselves?

Assertiveness is a skill of those people who can express themselves straightforwardly, without stepping on the rights of others. However, not everyone knows the importance of assertiveness for both personal and professional lives. Some people find it difficult to be assertive. But what most of us don’t know is that assertiveness is not a unique trait a person can possess that others don’t have. It is actually a skill which we can learn.

Why Do Some People Find It Hard To Be Assertive

To be assertive requires three points of the triangle; the passive, aggressive and assertive . You need to find the right mix of these three important points to be assertive.

The Passive

When we were kids, adults always taught us to be kind and friendly to other kids. Most of us have adapted this teaching to a point where we oftentimes become hesitant to express our opinions and thoughts. We believe that it is not nice to argue and disagree with others.

We develop a passive behavior because we are programmed to believe that those who goes out of the norm and are not afraid to say what they want to say are rude, disrespectful and are often rejected. But what you don’t know is that by being passive no one else gets upset but you. We are stepping into our own rights and it can negatively impact our self-confidence.

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The Aggressive

Completely opposite to being passive, aggressive people tend to fail in considering other people’s rights and feelings. They are not aware that by expressing their opinions, they have undermined the self-esteem and the rights of others.

Aggressive behaviors come in so many ways. By simply demanding someone rather than asking, rushing them or ignoring them, we are encouraging them to be passive while we become aggressive.

The Assertive

Assertiveness is finding the right balance between being passive and being aggressive. It is a two-way communication where we can convey our message and listen to others as well. It encourages an exchange of views so the rights of both parties are exercised and opinions and feelings are expressed appropriately. It means sharing, appreciating others and seeing them as an equal.

It can be a struggle finding the right balance. Our current roles, past experiences, how we view ourselves, the stress we experience and our incorrect assumption that these traits are by nature affect our responses and our communication with others. But if we become self-aware and we open our minds, we will realize how important it is to learn how to be assertive.

How Can Being Assertive Help Our Professional And Personal Lives?

As mentioned earlier, assertiveness can provide significant growth both in our professional and personal lives. Forbes reported [1]that leaders who are assertive are perceived to have higher integrity than those who are not. Also, it is vital for an organization to have a team of assertive individuals that promote cooperation, support, unity, training and developments . This is to successfully establish an effective project management process which is essential for project success.

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When it comes to our personal development, assertiveness sure helps a lot. Here are some of them.

Provide Yourself More Value. Assertiveness increases self-confidence and improves self-image. You develop the awareness that you have are not only entitled to your own opinions, but you have the right to express them. Also, you adopt a more realistic view of yourself.

You Learn To Value Others. Rather than seeing other people as a threat, an assertive behavior allows you to see them in a realistic context. You understand the individualities of a person and you see them as collaborators which can help you achieve things.

Gives You An Opportunity To Achieve More. When you convey your message appropriately and clearly, you never have to worry about unresolved issues or not being able to please other people. You can channel your effort and time for more worthy things which can help you unleash your full potential.

Overall, one major benefit of being assertive is that it allows us to h ave a healthy relationship with other people while improving ourselves. It may not be easy, but over time, we can learn to develop this behavior.

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So, What Does It Takes To Be Assertive?

Each person has different ways of developing assertiveness in them. For others, it can be pretty easy, while for some it may require them a lot of efforts to be assertive. But here are some tips we can work on to develop our assertiveness.

Know Your Value As A Person

Never allow other people to let you feel less important as them. Don’t allow them to make you feel inferior. Understand that your opinions, thoughts, feelings and your right to express them are as valuable as others.

We have a full control of ourselves. Some people may treat us poorly because they can see us doing that on our own selves. That gives them permission to treat us the way they do. Our confidence, energy and our attitude convey a message to people. These trigger their actions towards us.

If they see us as someone who has high regard of ourselves and someone who knows how to protect our rights and dignity, they will treat us as such as well. So it all starts with ourselves. When we know our value as a person, people will start to see us as their equal.

Identify Your Needs And Wants And Address Them

If you wait for people to address and satisfy your needs, you might wait for forever. Be independent. You need to put yourself in action to satisfy your own needs and wants. Moreover, when you learn to work towards satisfying your needs, you are more likely to reach your true potential and you become self-fulfilled. Thus, you boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

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However, in your desire to achieve your goals, do not forget that there are limitations. Do not be over-fixated with your dreams that you ignore and undermine other people’s rights. They too have to work for their own desires so make sure you don’t sacrifice other people’s needs to achieve yours.

Acknowledge The Fact That You Have No Control Of People’s Response

As the cliché saying goes, “you can’t please everyone”. You are not responsible for other people’s response towards your actions. So stop fretting about upsetting them because of your assertive behavior.

We are only responsible for our actions. We should not concede to their wants and needs for as long as we are not violating their rights and feelings. If they don’t like how we assert our own views and opinions, it is not our responsibility.

Express And Accept Criticisms In An Appropriate Manner

We have an imperfect life and that is why we give criticisms to others and receive criticisms as well. It is important that we should learn how to express negative thoughts to others in a way that we don’t violate their rights. Point mistakes and opinions, but express it in a way that it will be useful for the improvement and development of that certain person.

Likewise, when we receive criticisms, we should not take it personally. It’s okay to be upset or angry for a moment, but we should never lose our respect for the person. Instead, let’s view criticisms as a useful feedback which we can use for our personal or professional growth.

Say “No” When You Feel It’s Not Right For You

We always have to go for what’s right for us. We can’t just go with other people’s demand, especially if it is not aligned with our principles. If we do, we are losing our self-worth. We should always remember that it’s okay not no please everyone for as long as we are not stepping on their rights. But, if there is really a need to do things which are beyond our capabilities, we can learn to find other alternatives to meet halfway and provide a win-win solution.

Learning how to be assertive is not as complicated as we think. It may take some time to master assertiveness, but with constant practice, we can slowly make a transition. So give it a try and who knows, sooner or later, you will enjoy the long-term benefits of being assertive.

Reference

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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