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Assertiveness, Communication skills, Self-esteem

Abstract: What is Assertiveness? How do I learn to express my needs and rights? How do I develop self-esteem? How do I get people to do what I want them to do?

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Assertiveness, Communication skills, Self-esteem

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Written by: Martin Winkler and Gunborg Palme
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 17 Feb 2012.

What is Assertiveness?
How do I learn communication skills to express my needs and rights?
How do I develop self-esteem?


Assertiveness is the ability to express your needs and rights, positive or negative feelings without violating the rights and limits of others.

Assertiveness is the:

  • Communication skills, ability to express your thoughts and future ideas
  • ability to identify and express your feelings
  • Define and respect limits
  • Communicate and listen in an open, direct and honest way

No one will be able to achieve these goals at once. Before you try to develop skills for assertive behaviour you have to believe that you have the legitimate rights to have this needs:

  • The right to your own values, opinions and emotions
  • The right to change, enhance and develop your life in your own way
  • The right to decide how and where to lead your life and establishing own priorities and goals.
  • The right not to justify feelings or behaviour to others
  • The right to respect your needs and limits
  • The right to tell other how you wish to be treated
  • The right to say "NO"
  • The right to take the necessary time and support to formulate your ideas and wishes before expressing them.
  • The right to ask for help and information without having negative feelings of shame or guilt
  • The right to make mistakes
  • The right to change your mind or sometimes act illogically
  • The right to like yourself even through you are not perfect

Getting your way

How can you get people to do what you want? You must first realize that life is give and take. If you do what other people want, you can easier get them to do what you want.

You may feel that life is unfair to you, that you have to give a lot, and get little back. There are different strategies that you might use to set this right.

  1. Complain, nag, quarrel, scold, hate, fight.
  2. Praise, warmth, love.

In general, the second method is more successful than the first. Tell people clearly what you want. But do this in a neutral or positive way, not in a quarreling way. Give praise whenever people do what you want, satisfy your needs. But instead of quarreling, just say nothing when they do not do what you want. This is in most cases the most effective strategy.

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question:
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