Assertiveness – What does it mean? When we’re asked to do something for or with someone, we respond. If we do it assertively, we directly express our positive and/or negative feelings in a way that communicates “I care about you and me.”.. We communicate, both verbally and through our body language, that both of us, the sender and receiver, are important. If we use an aggressive stance in our response, we are saying, “I’m important; you aren’t. I’ll get my way no matter what I have to do.” If we use a passive response, we communicate, “You count; I don’t. I’ll do anything you want.” Finally, if we use a passive-aggressive stance, we look like we’re saying, “We both are important,” but, we’re really saying, “Say anything you want, but I’m getting my way no matter what.” Here are some guidelines that may help you be more assertive.


1. By standing up for your rights, you show you respect yourself and achieve the respect of others.

2. By trying to govern your life so you don’t hurt anyone, you end up hurting yourself and others.

3. Sacrificing your rights usually results in destroying relationships or preventing one from forming.

4. Not letting others know how you feel and what you think is a form of selfishness.

5. Sacrificing your rights usually results in training others to mistreat you.

6. If you don’t tell other people how their behavior negatively affects you, you are denying them an opportunity to change their behavior.

7. You can decide what’s important to you; you do not have to suffer from the “tyranny of the shoulds/should nots.”

8. When you do what you think is right for you, you feel better about yourself and have more authentic and satisfying relationships with others.

9. You have a natural right to courtesy and respect.

10. You have a right to express yourself as long as you don’t violate the rights of others.

11. There is more to be gained from life by being free and able to stand up for yourself and from honoring the same rights of others.

12. When you are assertive, everyone involved usually benefits.

(Taken from Carter, D. & Rawlings, E. (Eds.) Psychology of Women)

You may also like to read my blogpost on the “Broken Record Technique.” If you’d like some guidance in developing assertiveness, I’d love to help you. Please give me a call at 404.518.0828. . . Dr. Sharman Colosetti