Assertiveness: effective communication style

It will have happened to each of us at least once in their life not to be able, during a job interview or during a conversation between friends, to assert their rights enough, to express their ideas and points of view adequately or to put in place discuss the authoritarian modalities of the interlocutor, with the result of feeling angry and frustrated.

All this happens because we have not been able to adequately use an assertive communication style .

But what is assertiveness ? Term that is heard more and more frequently ‘? Assertiveness comes from the Latin “assèrere” which means to assert, to make one’s own. In general, being assertive means knowing yourself, valuing yourself, expressing yourself, taking action to get what you want and consider appropriate for yourself.

All this, however, in compliance with its interlocutors, guaranteeing the autonomy and specific identity of the individual parties, protecting the balance of the relationship for a real and functional comparison and exchange to achieve the objectives that in that relationship and in that specific situation he proposed.

By assertive behavior we therefore mean a social behavior that consists in the honest expression of one’s opinions, needs, desires and moods in a way appropriate to the situation in which one finds oneself, without embarrassment or feelings of guilt.

The assertive person acts to obtain what he desires and that he deems appropriate for himself, while at the same time respecting the rights (and not necessarily the desires) of others; she does not allow herself to be inhibited by anxieties, fears or embarrassment in relationships with other people and retains a good opinion of herself even if she is unable to achieve the goal she had originally intended to achieve.

Necessary and sufficient conditions for assertive behavior are: – awareness of one’s own and others’ rights and the willingness and willingness to act in compliance with both; – recognize and deem their own needs, opinions and moods worthy of attention and respect; – confidence in one’s own and others’ ability to make a positive contribution to the relationship.

Putting in place an assertive behavior generates satisfaction in the person, strengthens self-esteem, improves the quality of the relationship. This, in fact, becomes more fluid because it is set on a criterion of mutual equality and transparency, and as such more constructive.

Both parties involved in the relationship learn to appreciate and value the positive characteristics that distinguish them, to define their limits and potential in a realistic and non-distorted way and enter into a relationship in a full and constructive way.

The assertive person has and maintains a good opinion of themselves, is willing to take responsibility for the consequences of their behavior, to explore and realize their potential.

More and more often in clinical practice we meet people who show a willingness to change and wish to become more assertive, “able to say no”, after years of passive resignation.

L ‘ assertiveness is a skill that is learned gradually, with continuous training. The cognitive behavioral therapy , due to its specific characteristics that define it as centered on here and now, purpose-oriented and collaborative, turns out to be an election approach to this problem.

Assertiveness training can be done through assertive training which aims to make the person acquire greater awareness both from a theoretical and practical point of view, using frontal lessons, group work, simulations and homework, of one’s own relational style and therefore to initiate a change towards a better management of social relations.


by Abdullah Sam
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