Assertiveness training is about empowerment, self-confidence and assurance of self. It can not only help those with overly passive interpersonal relationships, but also those who tend to be overly aggressive. Assertive training aims to improve communication, personal well-being and interpersonal relationships by learning to strike the balance between passivity and aggression. With a positive sense of self and self-respect, a person with assertiveness will protect their boundaries, while treating others with respect and compassion.
Importance of Assertiveness
“Once upon a time there were three little pigs and the time came for them to leave home and seek their fortunes.
The first little pig built his house out of straw because it was the easiest thing to do. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. This was a little bit stronger than a straw house. The third little pig built his house out of bricks.
One night the big bad wolf, who dearly loved to eat fat little piggies, came along and saw the first little pig in his house of straw. He said, "Let me in, Let me in, little pig or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!" "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin", said the little pig. But of course, the wolf did blow the house in and ate the first little pig.
The wolf then came to the house of sticks. "Let me in, Let me in little pig or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in" "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin", said the little pig. But the wolf blew that house in too and ate the second little pig.
The wolf then came to the house of bricks. " Let me in, let me in" cried the wolf "Or I'll huff and I'll puff till I blow your house in" "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin," said the pigs. Well, the wolf huffed and puffed but he could not blow down that brick house. But the wolf was a sly old wolf and he climbed up on the roof to look for a way into the brick house. The little pig saw the wolf climb up on the roof and lit a roaring fire in the fireplace and placed on it a large kettle of water. When the wolf finally found the hole in the chimney he crawled down and KERSPLASH right into that kettle of water and that was the end of his troubles with the big bad wolf.”
Building strength akin to the house of bricks allows us to navigate through the intricacies of human relationships more smoothly, be it an unreasonable boss or an overbearing family member which is also vital for personal well-being and self-worth. Assertive training is not based on the idea that assertation is inborn, but rather something that could be built and nurtured, just like the building of the strong and stable brick house. Understandably, it may be difficult to strike the balance between passivity and aggression. Therefore, with the help of a trained psychologist through assertive training, assertiveness could be trained for better personal well being and communication with others.
How does assertive training work?
✽ Assertiveness training starts with an information-gathering exercise where clients are asked to note down areas in which they possess difficulty asserting themselves.
✽ The next phase would be to role-play different scenarios which aid the clients to practice clearer and more effective forms of communicating with others. Role-play typically incorporates specific problems for the individual, like; setting limits to intrusive friends, speaking up to an overbearing boss or communicating preferences to your spouse.
✽ Role-playing allows for the learning and application of new techniques taught and helps the client learn assertive responses through practice and allows
✽ Feedback is provided on the role-play to improve the responses and practice with different scenarios ensues
✽ Other than role-playing, assertiveness training promotes the use of “I” statements (For example, I feel …) to effectively communicate your experiences. “I” contrasted with “You” (For example, You are..) statements, are usually not received well by others due to the accusatory subtleties.
✽ Self-observation is also a vital component in the assertiveness training process as one is encouraged to observe their likes and dislikes
With assertiveness training, we start to gain self-awareness and allow us to express our feelings openly and overcome shame such that it creates a positive and healthier relationship with others, important for our social and personal development. Click here to find out more about assertive training.
Watch the video attached to learn how you can be more assertive!
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