Self-Esteem and Assertiveness

Solid self-esteem brings with it a sense of self-confidence and empowerment, and grants us the ability to move through the world to overcome life’s challenges, difficulties, and setbacks. Assertiveness is the ability to confidently and non-aggressively put forth what one needs and wants. It also includes the ability to draw lines and enforce boundaries where needed. Self-esteem, self-confidence and assertiveness are behaviors that are learned – and it is never too late to learn and practice these positive aspects of self-care.

Many of the ideas now associated with assertiveness training were first proposed in Manuel J Smith’s book When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, published in 1975. The book explains that assertiveness is largely about expressing oneself clearly and resisting manipulation. It proclaims a ten-point ‘Bill of Assertive Rights’, all based around one key principle: “The right to be the final judge of yourself is the prime assertive right which allows no one to manipulate you.”

The ‘Bill of Assertive Rights’ in When I Say No, I Feel Guilty reads as follows:

  • You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
  • You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.
  • You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
  • You have the right to change your mind.
  • You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them.
  • You have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
  • You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
  • You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
  • You have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
  • You have the right to say, “I don’t care.”

Remember, assertiveness is not about my needs mattering more than yours, or me getting what I want at your expense. Assertiveness is instead an affirmation of my right to ask for what I want. Even if you say no, it was okay for me to ask. Just as you’re allowed to ask for what you want. Just as I’m allowed to say no if I’m not prepared to give it to you, etc. When one person exercises her rights, she inspires others to do the same.


Please visit author, Moshe Ratson at his Google+ Profile:+Moshe Ratson 


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