Learning how to assert yourself can benefit your life in multiple ways. Finding your inner lion does not have to mean roaring at and biting your friends and colleagues. It can mean displaying a cool confidence and power that allows you to stand up for yourself.
Assertiveness training defined:
It is a type of behavioral therapy that teaches individuals how to give their opinions, properly articulate their ideas, and be able to say “no”. Learning to find a happy medium between passivity and hostility is essential to effective communication. Assertiveness training can vastly improve your personal and professional relationships.
Common goals of assertiveness training:
- Learning to stay calm when expressing your opinion
- Overcoming passivity
- Learning to say “no”
- Learning how to form “I” statements
- Figuring out how to express yourself honestly
- Improving conflict resolution skills
- Becoming more able to deal with stress
- Learning to be respectful of others when communicating
- Learning how to set realistic goals
- Figuring out how to distinguish between needs and wants
In order to achieve the above goals, assertiveness training usually includes the following steps:
- Informational exercise: Participants are asked to make a list of situations in which they have difficulty expressing themselves. This list can include situations in which participants cannot express themselves because they become aggressive, or are too shy and feel dominated.
- Role-playing: The informational exercise is usually followed by role-playing exercises to illustrate proper assertiveness techniques. Role-playing exercises may be conducted between training participants, or between the instructor and participant.
- Real-life exercises: After role playing, participants should be asked to try a few of their newly learned assertiveness techniques in real-life scenarios.
Preparation and aftercare: Some individuals, like those in abusive relationships or those who are particularly shy, may require preparatory therapy before beginning assertiveness training. It may also be important for some individuals to participate in aftercare therapy. This is especially important if assertiveness training is only one aspect of an anger management program.
Knowing when to tame your inner lion: A common misconception about assertiveness training is that it is only for people who are passive, or for those who are being dominated in some way. However, many assertiveness training courses are part of larger anger management programs. These focus on participants learning to express themselves properly, without becoming hostile or aggressive.
It is also important to know under what circumstances you should assert yourself. In order for assertiveness to affect relationships positively, both parties have to be reasonable and willing to listen. Trying to assert yourself in a situation with an abusive partner, or in a hostage situation may lead to serious injury, or even death. Any qualified, legitimate assertiveness training course will teach you this, but this point is so important that it bears repeating.
Where to find assertiveness training: You can find assertiveness training courses in many locations. It may be helpful to contact a local psychologist to find out what assertiveness programs are available there. You may also want to contact your local community center or local college to find out if any classes are available. Assertiveness training is also commonly offered through employers, and women’s centers. You can also search online for assertiveness training courses, activity listings, and videos.
Assertiveness training is a useful tool for many individuals. It teaches people who to clearly and honestly express their ideas and opinions, while curtailing aggressiveness or overcoming passivity. Learning to properly assert yourself can improve your relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. Try assertiveness training and bring out your inner lion.