Very different to aggression, by definition, assertion is the flexible pursuit of having our preferences met, opinions voiced, and our emotions and beliefs honestly communicated in an appropriate way at the relevant time. If you find yourself not being able to assert yourself more, there may be some obstacles getting in your way.
Do you have a fear of not being liked?
An alternative way of thinking: “I wish others liked me, I may even work hard towards it, but I do not need their approval”.
Do you have a fear of being rejected?
An alternative way of thinking: “Rejection is bad, and I do not like it, but I am not immune from it happening. It isn’t the end of the world, and although it’s hard to handle, I can cope with it”.
Do you have a fear of hurting or upsetting others?
An alternative way of thinking: “I would like this person not to feel hurt, but I have no guarantee they will not. Although uncomfortable, they and I can stand my assertion”.
Do you think that others know what you want?
An alternative way of thinking: “It would be nice if they knew, but they do not have to. It is worth tolerating the discomfort of speaking up, as there is more chance of my desires being met if I do”.
Do you have the urge to keep your feelings to yourself?
An alternative way of thinking: “I would prefer to not experience this uncomfortable emotion, but being human essentially means I will experience it. Although it’s hard to assert myself, it’s not going to kill me, and it will help in the long run if I do express how I feel”.
(Credit: Mandeep Jassal, cognitive and behavioral therapist and eye movement desensitization & reprocessing practitioner)