Self-affirmation is much more than a means of communication; It allows us to maintain a balanced self-esteem, allows us to take advantage of opportunities that come our way, and also makes it easier to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts from others (often caused by not saying important things to others). time).
And knowing that to say no is, for example, a skill with far more psychological implications than it first appears; and the same goes for daring to take the plunge of opting for a promotion, defending yourself against unfair criticism, or not accepting an unfavorable deal.
In this article we will review the main key aspects that can be worked on to develop assertivenessboth in the private and professional sphere.
What is it like to apply assertiveness to relationships?
Assertiveness is a fundamental concept both in the world of social psychology and, in the applied field, in the world of organizations, business communication and team management. It is the ability to apply strategies used to express important ideas or opinions in a timely manner without letting the fear of disturbing or generating a relatively intense emotional reaction lead to a confusing message, too “made up”or even to say nothing and leave this conversation for another time (falling into procrastination).
On the other hand, assertiveness finds a healthy balance between defending one’s own interests or those of the team or organization to which one belongs, on the one hand, and respect for the interests and way of being of the interlocutor. So, being assertive is not just communicating something unilaterally, regardless of how those who hear or read what we say will feel; It is also to say it according to your personality, your expectations or even your cultural origin, but without this serving as an excuse for you to make mistakes and not communicate what you really need to communicate.
There are currently many studies that testify to the usefulness of being assertive: it helps to prevent conflicts over time, helps to progress professionally and to defend one’s candidacy for a position, makes it less difficult to get out of toxic relationships, is a master piece in negotiation skills, etc… Also, fortunately, Assertiveness can be formed through learningThat is why, in many cases, it is one of the skills emphasized in psychotherapy processes, helping patients to face their fears and to make their social environment supportive of the others, not additional obstacles.
How to develop your assertiveness?
As we said earlier, assertiveness can be trained in psychotherapy (if the patient’s problem requires it), and indeed the most effective way to progress in this regard is to to see a psychologist to benefit from personalized treatment. professional experts in human behavior. However, some key ideas and strategies can also be helpful in working on assertiveness. Let’s see what they are.
1. Know how to control the times
If we do not establish temporary references, it is very easy that we do not apply enough insurance and that we end up endlessly postponing important conversations. This is why it is important to set deadlines and know how to prioritize everything you communicate.
2. Recognize Self-Sabotage Thoughts Quickly
The great enemies of assertiveness are thoughts of self-sabotage, ideas that come to mind when we begin to feel stressed or anxious about doing something and that cause us to offer excuses for making mistakes and not moving from desires to actions.
3. Knowing how to connect with past satisfying experiences related to assertiveness
To communicate with confidence, it is important to be motivated in this direction, and it is very useful for this. keep in mind the memories of situations in which, even if we were afraid to say something, we ended up taking the plunge and our situation has improved considerably.
4. Learn from your mistakes
On the other hand, it is also important to be able to detect the situations in which we have not been assertive enough and to analyze the problematic consequences that this has generated, in order to to prevent something similar from happening to us again.
5. Develop good analytical skills
To communicate assertively, it is essential to be able to break down into smaller parts what you think you should say, in order to select the most relevant elements to prioritize and to prevent them from going unnoticed during the transmission of our message.
6. Show empathy
As we have seen, assertiveness also includes the ability to adapt the message without letting it divert from important information or misunderstandings, while respecting the interlocutor and, as far as possible, avoiding feeling wrong. This is why it is crucial to develop empathy; not only for the ethical aspectbut also because what the other interprets of our attitude and our intentions can also change their interpretation of what we say.
7. Take care of yourself
To be assertive people, we need to maintain general self-care strategies and routines. It is difficult to defend our opinions and our interests if we let ourselves go in other aspects of life.
8. Know when to ask for help
In some cases where there are a lot of emotions involved and where the situation overwhelms us with its complexity, to develop the necessary degree of assertiveness, it may be necessary to go to psychotherapy.
And that’s part of being assertive let’s assume that it is a skill that comes in several levels: it is not a question of having or not having assertiveness. Therefore, in certain cases that are very important to us, such as the normalization of a family relationship or the breakdown of a relationship or friendship that has become toxic, it may be better to have professional support to get out of the loop. self-deception and fear. to take the leap.
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- Horse, V. (1983). Social skills training and assessment manual. Madrid: Acronym XXI.
- Paterson, RJ (2000). The assertiveness workbook: how to speak up and stand up for yourself at work and in relationships. Oakland: new harbinger
- Rivas, M. & López, M. (2012). Social and organizational psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 11. CEDE. Madrid.
- OnlineRojas, D. (1994). Executive communication techniques. Inter-American McGraw-Hill.
- Suripatty, L. (2021). The importance of assertive leadership style in school organizational development. International Journal of Research-Based Education, 3(1), 8-13.