Self-Assertiveness, Where To Start?

Last updated by Katie M.

Saying what I want to say to others? It’s impossible for me! At least, it was for a long time. For a few months now, I’ve tried to develop positively by learning to assert myself. I was fed up with being stifled by my fears and emotions… Only, it’s all very well to say it, but it seems easier to say than to do. So where to start?

Self-Assertiveness, Where To Start?

Defining self-assertiveness

Self-assertiveness can be defined as a behavior that allows us to act in our best interests. It’s a way of defending our point of view, expressing in a direct and sincere way what we think, want, and feel. This is how the concept was established by Alberti and Emmons in the 1970s. The psychiatrist Christophe André adds that self-assertiveness is expressing yourself without generalized anxiety and taking into account the person you’re talking to.

🧐 Self-assertiveness isn’t a quality, but a behavior. It can therefore be worked on and learned.

The obstacles to this positive development

But it’s not easy to assert yourself. Many of us, myself included, have a deficit in this area. What’s holding us back? There are three things that prevent us from developing:

  • Psychological barriers 🧠: this includes all fears, including the fear of hurting others, of conflict, of looking ridiculous, of being judged… Even the fear of conflict [PB1] and doing the wrong thing! These anxieties paralyze us and push us into avoidance.
  • Emotional barriers ❤️: these are our thoughts that generate strong anxiety and poor management of our feelings. We’re unable to face “high-risk” situations.
  • Lack of training 🤷‍♀️: avoiding situations has become “natural”, so we’re not used to saying what we think.

Why is it essential to do this?

When you’re not used to asserting yourself, the previous barriers are difficult to overcome. Embarrassment and fear paralyze us, so it’s much easier not to step out of our comfort zone. Nevertheless, self-development and self-assertiveness can really help us. It will make us feel better, we’ll be more respected, and our self-confidence will increase as we go along. On top of that, our relationships will be positively impacted as we’ll be able to communicate better 🗨️.

Starting to be assertive

There is real work to be done to assert yourself. You can start doing it on your own by keeping a mantra in mind: “I can take my place and make my voice heard”. It’s a good way to develop your assertiveness. It will convince you that you’re legitimate and that you have just as much right to express yourself as others.

In addition to this, Christophe André recommends something else in his book “I cure my complexes and depression”. We must confront the emotions of discomfort and embarrassment because they will disappear little by little. The more we learn to disobey, especially our parents as an adult, the more we learn to assert ourselves. What’s more, saying things simply is a good way to express yourself correctly.

8 key principles for self-assertiveness

There are principles that must be kept in mind when developing your communication with others. At the same time, you must also learn to manage your emotionsso that they don’t interfere with your assertiveness.

1 - 👉 Proudly use “I”.

2 - 👉 Express our needs and desires.

3 - 👉 Respect the desires of others.

4 - 👉 Practice active listening (we, therefore, listen as much as we talk).

5 - 👉 Be direct, clear, and precise.

6 - 👉 Look at the other person in the eyes, we mustn’t run away from them.

7 - 👉 Pay attention to non-verbal communication.

8 - 👉 Look for a compromise in case of conflicts.

Asserting yourself without putting others down

Self-assertiveness must be done with respect. Asserting yourself doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive to others! Non-violent communication and listening to others are closely linked to expressing your deepest desires. It’s not incompatible, on the contrary, they both develop together: the more you respect others, the more legitimate you’ll be in expressing your feelings.

To assert yourself with others, you need to learn t do these exercises:

  • Making a request: “Can I borrow this?”.
  • Responding to a request: say no, say yes, or negotiate, as long as it matches your emotions.
  • Making a criticism: it must be constructive and not hurtful.
  • Responding to criticism: “I understand that you don’t like my outfit, but I do, and it’s a way of expressing my style”.
  • Giving a compliment: it must be sincere and not manipulative.
  • Responding to a compliment: learning to accept compliments is part of self-assertiveness.

Asserting yourself can take years, which is what I’m currently finding out. I know that I still have a long way to go, but I feel even better. Once you’ve understood that, it becomes increasingly easy to have the right reflexes. It’s up to us 💪!

Editor’s note: very effective exercises

As you will have understood, self-assertiveness can be learned and above all worked on! There are many very effective exercises and techniques. 👉 To make your voice heard, don’t hesitate to contact a coach to start this work.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy… It’s here and now!

Be sure to check out these articles too;

Article presented by Katie M.

Discover the world through my eyes.

Read our latest articles here:

How To Make A Narcissist Fear You?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, scaring a narcissist is impossible, so, let me stop you right there because it’s totally false! Getting these awful manipulators to fear you is no easy challenge, however, there are certain things you can do that will help you turn the tables on them in no time. Letting these abusers know that they’ve met their match is the first important step toward the road to recovery, so I hope you’re ready for the journey. Here are 10 ways to scare a narcissist

What Exactly Does It Mean To Be An Extrovert?

I wish I could say loud and clear that I’m an extrovert, but not at all. I belong to the opposite team, the team of introverts. However, even though we don’t operate in the same way, that doesn’t prevent me from being surrounded by extroverts. I myself have a few moments when my introversion gives way to my extroversion, when I feel good, surrounded by a few people that I know well. So how does extroversion work? How is it different? What can you do to get on well with an extrovert? Let me explain.

Everything You Need To Know About Hyper-Empathy

Sometimes you’re devastated by your best friend’s break-up, sometimes you’re euphoric about your sister’s pregnancy... Sometimes it feels like other people’s emotions are invading you, so much so that you feel like you’re experiencing what they’re going through like it’s your own life. Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you’re affected by hyper-empathy, a characteristic not dissimilar to hypersensitivity. But what exactly is it? How do you distinguish between the two? And above all, how do you know if you’re hyper-empathetic? Let me explain.

Why Do Narcissists Stare?

Narcissists have a reputation for being amongst the most manipulative people out there, and rightly so! The truth is, these people are so good at the evil things they do because they operate under the radar and use covert methods to exercise their depraved missions. Now, one of the biggest and seemingly most unsuspecting techniques they use to manipulate and control their victims is staring. You're no doubt a little dubious about a stare being an effective tool in the art of manipulation, but it's true, a void and menacing look is one of the most intimidating and unnerving gestures that these folks turn to.

8 Reasons Why All Narcissists Are Hypocrites

If you know anything about narcissists, you'll surely be aware that they are extremely overly judgmental and critical, especially towards other people. Their faultfinding stems from their perception of ultimate superiority, and therefore legitimizes them in holding people to intimidatingly high standards. However, although they may believe they are pretty much perfect, the reality couldn't be any more different, yet they are slightly more forgiving with themselves. That's right, they are huge hypocrites and go from one extreme to another in a split second. Here we discuss the reasons behind their hypocritical behavior.

Are Narcissists Born Or Made? - Let's Settle The Debate

There you have it, the nature vs nurture debate is back, only this time I want to focus it on those deviously manipulative personalities we refer to as narcissists. Now, evidently these folks get bad press and rightly so because they are often at the root of plenty of harm, but is it really their fault? Can they really be blamed for their terrifying and perhaps inherent traits, or are they simply just products and in this case victims of their environments? Let’s settle this debate once and for all and figure out how and when this disorder becomes apparent. So, are you born a narcissist or is it developed?

Why Do I Feel Bad When People Don’t Message Me Back?

Friday night rolls around and after a hard week you were expecting to have a drink with a girlfriend, but she seems to have left you hanging on read... To make matters worse (and the humiliation?) you even saw the little typing sign appear, yet you never received a reply. Well, if that’s the case, obviously you or your "how about a drink tonight?" didn’t deserve an answer. Let’s take a look at why some people don't reply to messages, and why when someone doesn't reply to your text, this makes us feel so bad.

How Does A Narcissist React When They Can’t Control You?

You probably know by now that narcissists only ever look for one thing and one thing only; and that’s control! Whether in their personal or professional life, folks with this personality disorder need to be in the driving seat and the one calling the shots, otherwise all hell breaks loose. Although their cunning and manipulative nature means they are often hard to escape, it is still possible to turn the tables on them and take the upper hand. Yet, you’ll need a thick skin to do so because when they feel their power slipping away, they become even more dangerous and abusive; here’s how they react when that happens.

How To Get Revenge On A Narcissist?

Narcissistic abuse is one of the most horrific challenges anyone can ever go through in life, but that’s not to say that their reign of terror will last forever. Evidently, breaking the cycle of abuse isn’t exactly straightforward, however, once the discard phase has been activated and victims realize that they can walk away with their heads held high, the revenge phase can commence. Unsurprisingly, getting even with a raging egocentric narcissist needs to be carefully planned, but ironically, their self-centered personalities expose to many axes of revenge, which will evidently really get to them…

How Do Narcissists Behave Sexually?

As with many things in life, narcissists also have unhealthy relationships with sex and treat it as nothing more than a self-gratifying activity. After all, manipulation, control, and emotional abuse are their so-called trusty weapons that they hide behind in most circumstances, so why wouldn’t they call on them in the bedroom too? The bottom line is people with this personality disorder are used to getting what they want and will only ever put themselves and their pleasure first, which doesn’t bode well for a healthy sex life. Discover how they behave in the bedroom and what you should do if you are involved with one.

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

How to soothe an anxiety attack