Too many of us fail to fulfill our needs because we say no rather than yes, or perhaps later in life, yes when we should say no.” – William Glasser
Assertiveness is not what you do, it’s who you are! Cal Le Mon
The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others. Sharon Anthony Bower
People who are assertive usually do not have problems with their self-esteem. Those who have self-esteem issues are more likely to be overly aggressive or very passive and submissive. Assertiveness means being able to stand up for one’s self without being obnoxious or rude. Instead we exemplify self-confidence and poise.
Assertive people can say “no!” They usually have principles they stand by and will defend them when challenged. They can confront others while continuing to respect them and stop short of stepping on their toes or being offensive. Others can effectively interact with them without their losing their temper and self control.
Some of us are lacking in our assertiveness. It is too easy for us to be taken advantage of; too hard for us to say “no”, too easy to be manipulated into buying things and too hard to seek satisfaction when things go wrong. We are unable to terminate phone calls with telemarketers or to aptly deal with overly aggressive individuals.
An assertive person takes defective products back to the store, deals with customer service representatives, talks with kids’ teachers, and interacts in all kinds of circumstances while remaining cool, calm, and collected.
On the other side are those who are overly aggressive and want to dominate and control. They are rude, rash, and argumentative, lose their temper, and always want to get their way while at the expense of others. They have a win/lose philosophy. These people have self-issues: lack self-esteem, self-respect, self-discipline, and self-control. They do not like themselves and often take out their frustrations and shortcomings on others.
Being properly assertive is a life skill each of us should develop. It is both good for us and those we interact with. We can respect the rights of others while not abdicating ours in the process. This is a win/win philosophy.
Being assertive instead of too aggressive requires being confident in whom and what we are and also having a good self-image and self-respect. This gives us a foundation for caring about the well-being of others as well as ourselves. If we can do this, we will be able to respect our self while at the same time respect others.
Learning to be assertive is a very important life skill to master if we are to grow and mature. It will come from building good self-confidence in ourselves. The benefits are tremendous and is worthy of our best efforts.
Challenge: Are you able to assert yourself when necessary? Can you avoid being too passive or too aggressive? All this is dependent upon a foundation of self-respect. It is important for you to master this in order to achieve a high level of efficiency in your life. You must get your feet wet. Step in when it is time for you to be assertive. Practice makes perfect. Learn to love and respect yourself and others will love and respect you as well.
Wisdom: Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes. Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Assertiveness implies healthy respect for other’s rights as well as our own. If both parties have healthy respect for each other, things are likely to go well. If we have love in our hearts, we can avoid being aggressive or too submissive. We are guided to do the proper thing and are secure in doing so. It is very difficult for us to have this kind of maturity in our own strength. This kind of strength and love comes from God’s help and guidance.
Prayer: Help me to have love in my heart and to be able to care about others needs as I interact with them.