All About Assertiveness

Demonstrating assertiveness means there's no question where you stand, no matter the topic. Cognitively, to be assertive implies a lack of anxious thoughts in light of stress. Behaviorally, assertiveness is all about asking for what you want in a manner that respects others. Assertive people don't shy away from defending their points of view or goals, or from trying to influence others. In terms of affect, assertiveness means reacting to positive and negative emotions without aggression or resorting to passivity.

Recent Posts on Assertiveness

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse undercuts a person’s foundational self-confidence and love of self and replaces them with confusion about self-worth, value, justice, mercy, and love.

7 Tips to Create Healthy Boundaries with Others

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on November 21, 2015 In Flux
Healthy boundaries help you form and maintain healthy relationships. Knowing what you need, what personal space is yours helps to to prevent unwanted overtures and violations of what you consider personally sacred.

Don't Decide Like Martians

When faced with life-and-death choices, teams often decide on a course of action by voting. However, the voting method may bully some members of a team into going along with risks that they really don't want to take. The film "The Martian" illustrates this strategy, team decision making at its worst.

Should You Worry About Your Lover's Ex-lovers?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 02, 2015 Fighting Fear
People inclined to be jealous are especially inclined to be jealous of a lover's ex-lovers. Is this reasonable?

How Not to Be a Jerk or a Wimp

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 01, 2015 Ambigamy
Based on broad reading in behavioral science and philosophy, here are some tips on how to tip yourself toward the middle ground between being over-assertive and over-accommodating.

"Don't Talk to Strangers," Worst Advice Ever?

Helping children learn to be confident and assertive in a wide variety of social situations is one of the best gifts parents can give their children and a good way to promote safety.

"Hey This Isn't A Competition And You Have Cooties So I Win"

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 25, 2015 Ambigamy
When we want to end arguments without admitting defeat we often accuse our opponents of having negative emotions which we treat as the equivalent of having cooties. Here's how it works and why its not just insulting to them but dangerous for us to end arguments this way.

When Dissent at Work Is a Good Idea

When prudent and logical, dissent at work can lead to valuable reward.

8 Ways to Survive Awkward Conversations

You can't always avoid an awkward conversation, but you can take steps to make them more comfortable.

9 Keys to Handling Hostile and Confrontational People

Most of us encounter confrontational and hostile people at some point in our lives. On the surface, they may come across as domineering, demanding, or even abusive. However, an astute approach and assertive communication style, may help you turn aggression into cooperation, and coercion into respect.

The Door in Trump's Wall

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on October 02, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump has suggested a literal wall separating Mexico from Texas. He went on to suggest a "beautiful door" in the wall. An examination of that suggestion.

The 5 Fighting Words You Need to Drop From Your Relationship

Do you fight dirty? These five words are hurting your relationship.

4 Ways to Break Up with Someone Compassionately

While it is always difficult to end an intimate relationship, research indicates that some ways of breaking up are better than others. In fact, it is possible to learn how to break up with someone compassionately and effectively. This approach helps minimize the pain and confusion for both partners, while sometimes even preserving a friendship.

Whatever Happened to Assertiveness Training?

Getting mellow and relaxed in response to stress can be a good thing, but it can also lead to staying in a bad situation that might otherwise be fixed, particularly in dysfunctional families. Cognitive behavior therapists used to counsel their patients on how to speak up for themselves, but seem to have forgotten the "assertiveness" techniques they used to champion.

6 Mental Habits That Will Wear You Down

Do you struggle with self-doubt and self-defeating habits? Do you want to feel more confident about yourself and what you have to offer? Do you focus on pleasing others, rather than following your dreams and living your best life? The best way to start feeling better about yourself is to notice the automatic mental and emotional habits that don’t serve you well.

Bad Teachers Can Damage You-- or Make You Stronger

From one very bad teacher, I learned that intelligence without emotional generosity means nothing, that narcissism unchecked is poisonous and that sometimes it is far more honorable to be refused membership to a group than to be part of it. That lesson left welts.

Can You Say No To Requests?

People-pleasing has its up-sides. Generosity tends to uplift the giver as well as the receiver. Yet for the times when you really do not want to do something that someone has requested of you, here's a gracious way to say a clear no.

Is it Narcissism—Or Just High, Healthy Self-esteem?

By Caroline Beaton on September 25, 2015 The Gen-Y Guide
How psychology tests are failing us: the data behind Millennial narcissism.

One Skill to Curb Unconscious Gender Bias

By Joseph Grenny on September 23, 2015 Crucial Conversations
What if your colleagues discriminated against you just for being assertive? Unfortunately for many women, gender bias is a reality in today’s workplace.

Yintimidation: Bullying The "Nice" Way

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Ambigamy
We associate bullying with yang or macho behavior, but that's not the only way to bully

The Right to Bear Arms in the Operating Room

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 21, 2015 Fighting Fear
The right to bear arms is being asserted in more and more places--churches, schools, etc. There are problems, however, in bearing arms in the operating room. The reasons are given here

Pubic Shaving: Which Women? And Why?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on September 15, 2015 All About Sex
In pubic shaving the new normal?

Speaking Up for Yourself, Part 2

You can learn that speaking up does not have to mean conflict, and that gradually you can become more comfortable with establishing some boundaries. If the person you are with later treats you in a way that feels like payback for them being nice to you, then you have learned something about the relationship.

When You’ve Been Humiliated or Hurt by Someone You Trusted

By Carrie Barron M.D. on September 08, 2015 The Creativity Cure
Research suggest that the scars of childhood bullying have a significant impact later in life. This is one person's story of resilience and how "woe is me" turned to "woe is you."

Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

The quiet, polite expression of doubt can turn the rest of the group from zombies into thinkers.

Your Three Languages and How to Speak Them Well

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 Ambigamy
There's a lot of confusion about when it's best to be positive, negative and neutral. Here we sort it out.

How to Turn the Voice of No into the Voice of Yes

By Gregg Levoy on August 24, 2015 Passion!
There are just as many reasons to say “No” to passions and personal growth as there are to say “Yes.” Here's how to turn that around.

5 Ways the Fear of Rejection Holds You Back

Whether you opted out of asking someone on a date, or you chose not to apply for a promotion, the fear of rejection can be debilitating.

A Fool Proof Formula for Saying No

How often have you agreed to do something only to regret it later?

4 Ways to Set Boundaries

Most of us must set boundaries around our helping and giving at some point in our lives. But internal conflict is common when we place limits on what we’ll do for or give to others, even when we know it’s the right thing to do. Managing this boundary-setting ambivalence is key to setting and maintaining healthy boundaries.