Communicating properly is an art. Some say that it is impossible not to communicate, we are always transmitting information, even through silence. What we say and how we do it affects our lives and the quality of our relationships.

The assertive communication is to find the right balance between the extremes of being passive or aggressive at the moment to express our point of view.

It has happened to you that you do not agree, but you agree. We keep quiet to avoid conflicts, we tell ourselves. The extreme is when your boss speaks with such emphasis that he ends up yelling when someone dares to contradict him. Those two variants, passivity and aggressiveness, are two extremes that go hand in hand and contribute to bad interpersonal relationships.

In human groups it is normal to disagree. In fact, it is desirable because different points of view enrich and energize relationships. How we handle these disagreements makes the difference to maintain harmonious and quality relationships.

I better keep quiet: Passivity

Whether the person has low self-esteem, is insecure, or because they underestimate the importance of communicating properly, they sometimes take a passive stance, letting others run over their right to dissent.

Other times we seek to please others by consenting to what we do not like and agreeing when we want to say no.

This attitude generates victimization and even resentments.

Who shouts the most wins: Aggression.

It is the extreme of disrespect for the other and their rights. The attitude, the spoken and body language, are threatening.

Who is aggressive does not admit intermediate points, nobody can disagree in his presence and his criticisms are destructive. It is imposed generating fear. He believes himself superior, although often with his aggressiveness he hides his fear of losing power. Seeks its stability by minimizing others.

What is assertive communication

Assertive communication refers to the way we express our opinions, assert our points of view and demand respect for our rights without disrespecting the rights of others. An assertive person communicates what they want, think and feel in a clear and timely way.

To communicate assertively it is necessary to know our assertive rights.

  • I will live according to my expectations and not yours. I have the right to say no, without feeling guilty.
  • I have the right to set my priorities in life and to judge my needs without someone else intervening.
  • Demand and expect to be treated with respect and dignity. Under no circumstances will I allow someone to attack and violent me for expressing my differences.
  • I have my own feelings and opinions. I can express them, even if you disagree with me and that does not mean I disrespect you.
  • I can ask for what I want and hope to be pleased, but I keep in mind that you can say no to me and it is your right.
  • I can change my mind and rectify, because I also have the right to be wrong.

The advantage of assertive communication: building quality relationships

Communicating assertively favors listening and empathy in a climate of respect. By communicating what we feel and think, honestly and without attacking the other, opportunities arise for understanding and improving relationships.

When no one tries to impose themselves, but rather to understand the other and then seeks to be understood, the assertive agreement is achieved that builds and maintains satisfactory interpersonal relationships.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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