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Assertive Communication

Assertiveness is a communication style in which a person stands up for their own needs and wants, while also taking into consideration the needs and wants of others, without behaving passively or aggressively.

Without assertiveness, internal conflicts arise including

1. Stress

2. Resentment

3. Seething Anger

4. Feelings of Victimization

5. Desire to Exact Revenge

6. Doubting/Question our own Judgment

Benefits of Assertive Communication:

1. Gain Self-esteem

2. Increase a sense of empowerment

3. Ability to understand and recognize feelings

4. Earn respect from others

5. Improve open/honest communication

6. Get more of your needs met

7. Create win-win situations

8. Improve decision-making skills

9. Take responsibility for what happens to you in life

10. Engage in more relaxed and fulfilling relationships with less anxiety

11. Ability to see/hear/love others more easily

12. Be able to protect yourself from others who may want to take advantage of you

13. Be able to maintain your own dignity and self-respect.

What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express feelings and ask for what you want in the relationship.

So, rather than stay quiet and assume your partner can read your mind, you intentionally share how you feel and ask clearly and directly for what you want.

Assertive people get more of what they want and need because they ask for what they want and need.

Assertive individuals take responsibility for their messages by using “I” statements and avoiding sentences that begin with “you.”

Being assertive respects both yourself and the other person without compromising either person’s rights as a human being.

Assertive behavior builds strong relationships with others and allows others to feel heard and understood even though you may not necessarily agree with them.

Assertive people are confident. They know who they are, they know what they like and what they do not like. They participate in life because they choose to – and not for any other reason.

Assertive people respect the opinion of others. They may have strong beliefs, but respect others who do as well.

Assertive people can validate others’ feelings. They can say things like, “I realize you’re angry at me for this, but I’m standing firm on my decision.”

Assertive people are good listeners. They actively listen, make good eye contact, do not interrupt, and reflect on what they hear to confirm what they heard is correct.

Assertive people can problem-solve and compromise.

Assertive people know their needs are just as valuable as the needs of others around them.

In a marriage, assertiveness shows up as you are calm and self-assured while you speak up for yourself – including sharing your feelings, wants, and needs. (And without getting defensive, angry, scared, or worried)

Becoming more assertive in marriage is about effective communication. It’s about hearing what your spouse is communicating, both verbally and nonverbally, and responding with a clear mind and open heart.

Tips to improve your assertiveness in relationships:

1. Know your worth (Know your value and let it be your guide)

2. Change the way you communicate (make your point clearly & respectfully so it can be understood)

3. Stick to the facts (avoid getting lost in feelings)

4. Stop judging/assuming and begin understanding (Stop judging your partner’s behavior by assuming you know what they are thinking or feeling, and try to understand that behavior from their perspective)

5. Share what you know (Realize you can only speak for yourself – use I statements to help pinpoint the issues and share your feelings)

6. State behavior, results, and feelings (Share the behavior that causes the issue, the result of that behavior, and how it makes you feel)

7. Take time to breathe (if things go sideways or you don’t know what to say, take a breath)

8. Don’t let guilt guide you (it’s okay to say no to things that make you feel uncomfortable or unhappy)

9. Positive self-talk (remind yourself you are valuable, and your needs are important!)

10. Embody assertiveness (stand tall, refrain from fidgeting, and maintain eye contact)

11. Set clear boundaries (know what you will and will not tolerate)

12. Learn to listen (actively listen and respond to facts with precision and control)

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