Assertiveness: It's Not What You Think

Posted by Jeanne Robertson on

Assertiveness gets a bad rap because many think it is aggressive or confrontational. It’s neither.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In our Baptismal Covenant (p. 305, BCP), we are asked if we will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. That includes us respecting ourselves. We have the right to express ourselves respectfully and an obligation allow others to do the same.

Assertiveness is an Honest, Direct, and Appropriate expression of our feelings, thoughts and beliefs.

Honest: What you really think, feel, believe (not what you think you should).

Direct: Straightforward. Not avoiding our needs, hinting, or guessing what the others want or think.

Appropriate: Respectful tone, words, body language. Make requests, not demands. Think before speaking. Is what I say needed or helpful? Is it likely to resolve or encourage conflict? To whom should I say it?

Which color(s) fit you? We all have one or more blocks in how we live our day to day lives – some at work, some @ home, some with extended family or friends. If you would like to remove a few, come join a class (TBA), request handouts or just come talk about what it means in any area of your life.

I hope to hear from you.


Jeanne Robertson, Ph. D., LPC, LMFT

Director of the Center for Counseling and Education


Tags: assertiveness, counseling, relationships