Do you feel that you are too passive? Or is it the other way around, where people find you too aggressive?
Finding the middle ground between the two can be a tricky proposition, but with professional help from a psychologist you can achieve the right balance in your life.
What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is relating or communicating with others in a way that is respectful of their rights and feelings, and not offensive; yet at the same time, allows you to openly communicate your thoughts, feelings and opinions.
As you can see, it is a bit of a delicate balancing act!
If you are passive in the way you communicate, you are probably too afraid of what the other party might think or feel – thus you withhold certain thoughts, beliefs and feelings which you feel might make the other party upset. What happens as a result of this is that your own personal communicative needs are not met, and this could lead to you feeling frustrated, disappointed or angry with yourself.
If this occurs repeatedly over time, this can cause you to become depressed or anxious about relating to others. You might find that you release some of these negative feelings in a “passive-aggressive” manner, such as being sarcastic.
On the other hand, an aggressive communicator is someone who prioritises communicating his/her feelings and thoughts, to the point where there is a lack of concern for how the other person feels.
This might lead to others avoiding or not listening to you – which in turn affects your relationships and whether things get achieved at all. Once again, this might lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment, and over time, develop into depression and general anxiety when relating to others.
Low Self-Esteem and Assertiveness
It is highly probable that a lack of assertiveness has meant that you tend to go along with and agree with another’s thoughts and feelings. This can result in you feeling weak and that you and your feelings are not worth a lot. You might focus on pleasing others, to the extent that you feel unfulfilled in your own life. Worst of all, this inability to relate to significant others may well have a detrimental effect on your personal relationships.
On the other hand, being too aggressive can lead to the loss of relationships, or the inability to make new friends. Once again, this could have a detrimental effect on self-esteem, as there is a tendency for the individual to blame themselves in these situations.
A trained psychologist is able to help you work through the interpersonal difficulties which stem from lack of assertiveness.
People find that being more assertive allows them to feel empowered in life – they are more comfortable with who they are and their personal relationships.
Furthermore, studies have shown that an increase in assertiveness is associated with feeling less depressed, and lower levels of substance abuse. If you are tired of not being able to communicate effectively and need some help in being more assertive, now is the time to make a change!
Author: Joey Tai, BA (Psych) Hons, Master of Clinical Psychology.
Joey Tai is an endorsed Clinical Psychologist, with a passion for helping clients to develop and maintain positive relationships.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.