Archive for 'Assertiveness'

Apr 07


“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert “Dune”


“Courage doesn’t always roar. Some times it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”


Fear can stop us from making the changes we want to make in our lives. It can cause us to not take the first steps because the thought of changing our lives completely can be frightening. Why? Consider some of the following issues:

Our fear of trying to change and then failing:

Most people don’t make significant changes without mistakes. These setbacks are a part of life. Some people view these mistakes as failure and revert to past unhealthy behaviors.

Our fear of being vulnerable:

We believe that we can always get what we need, regardless of how we have to get it. If we stop using these tactics, are others going to take advantage of us? Will we become like people we’ve taken advantage of or manipulated?

Our fear of the unknown:

If we make major changes in our lives, what kind of person will we become? Will we be able to handle painful situations that arise? Will we be able to live up to other’s expectations? Will we be able to earn back the trust of others? Will we like and feel comfortable with the person we have become?

Recent Academy Award winner, Jeff Bridges, was asked about ‘fear’ and about doing the role he was about to do. He said, “Fear is your friend, it’s like fire. It can warm your home or burn it down, you have to respect your fear but not let it control you.”

Our fear of giving up:

After trying hard to change, will we be discouraged and quit? Will we fall back into our old attitudes of self-pity? “Why try?… Who cares?… Who am I kidding?… I can’t do this…” Will our old habits return and take control of our lives again? Will we be like the people we despise?

Fear is a powerful force that can hold us back in some situations – but it helps us in others. My fear of failure can motivate me to weigh decisions more carefully. If we listen to those fears they can stop us from doing wrong. But our personal fears can also be a wall – a wall we feel unable to climb. It’s tempting to use our fears as an excuse for not changing. Yet, if we deny these fears, we give them even more control over our lives.

Change is possible if we face our fears… if we recognize, accept and deal with our fears. We can do this through hard work, refusing to give up and accepting the help of others. For some, it will not be one day at a time; it will be one moment at a time.

Mar 10

The American Heritage Dictionary defines assertiveness as expressing oneself confidently. It is the balance of looking after your own needs and boundaries, while also respecting those of others

There are 3 basic styles of interpersonal behavior and communication styles:

1. Aggressive: Blaming, accusing, threatening, abrasiveness. Does not respect the boundaries of others.
2. Passive: Subject to inaction. Without responding. Meekness. Will not defend one’s own position, and may be manipulated by others.
3. Assertive: Expressing true beliefs, thoughts, feelings. Will speak their mind or defend their boundaries while respecting those of others.

Being assertive means acting in your own best interest; being either passive or aggressive is not. When you learn to be assertive, meekness, withdrawal, attack, and blaming are no longer needed. The essence of being assertive is to be direct, not manipulative and to be honest, but tactful. Addressing your position or opinion respectfully but firmly is being assertive.

Types of Assertion:
1. Basic Assertion: A simple expression of position. To some one who constantly interrupts, for example, “Excuse me, I’d like to finish what I have to say.”

2. Empathic Assertion:
Includes 2 parts: a) Recognition of the other person’s feelings
b) Standing up for your position

“I understand you’re in a real bind, but I have too much to do so I can’t do your chores too, sorry.”

3. “I” Language Assertion: Useful in expressing difficult negative feelings. A 4-part statement:

a) When – Describe the other person’s actions
b) The effects are – How the actions affect you
c) I think / feel – Optional description of thoughts, feelings
d) I wish / I’d prefer, etc. – You describe what you want.

“When you constantly interrupt, I feel disrespected and discounted. I wish you’d be polite and wait until I am finished speaking.”

“When you criticize me in front of others without trying to help, I think you’re just trying to hurt me or make a fool of me. I’d prefer you give me constructive feedback privately.”