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Building assertive beliefs


Techniques Assertiveness > Building assertive beliefs

Assertive beliefs | Non-assertive beliefs | Developing assertive beliefs | See also


Assertive beliefs

Much of what we do, say, feel and act is based on our beliefs, and in particular in our beliefs about people. Problems occur when we hold different beliefs about ourselves and about other people.

If you have assertive beliefs, then assertive behavior will follow. If you do not hold assertive beliefs, then you will have difficulty in sustaining assertiveness.

Beliefs that drive assertive behavior include:

  • I am equal to others, with the same fundamental rights.
  • I am free to think, choose and make decisions for myself.
  • I am able to try things, make mistakes, learn and improve.
  • I am responsible for my own actions and my responses to other people.
  • I do not need permission to take action.
  • It is ok to disagree with others. Agreement is not always necessary or possible.

Non-assertive beliefs

Non-assertive beliefs are generally those that assume we are not equal to other people, and hence drive passive or aggressive behavior.

Beliefs that drive passive behavior include:

  • Others are more important, more intelligent or otherwise better than me.
  • Other people do not like me because I do not deserve to be liked.
  • My opinion is not of value and will not be valued.
  • I must be perfect in everything I do, otherwise I am a complete failure.
  • It is better to be safe and say nothing rather than say what I think.

Beliefs that drive aggressive behavior include:

  • I am cleverer and more powerful than other people.
  • Other people cannot be trusted to do as they are told.
  • It's a dog-eat-dog world. I must get other people before they get me.
  • The only way to get things done is to tell people. Asking is a sign of weakness.
  • People who do not fight hard for what they want get what they deserve.

Developing assertive beliefs

There are a number of things that you can do to develop and stabilize assertive beliefs that will lead to you being more assertive:

  • Notice how your current beliefs drive your decisions and actions. Identify the beliefs that you want to change.
  • Wonder about how the beliefs of others drive their decisions and actions.
  • Decide on the beliefs that you want to adopt. Write them down. Pin them on the wall. Carry them with you in your wallet or pocket.
  • Start by acting assertive. You may not feel it, but you can always act it.
  • Start small: be assertive in relatively simple contexts, such as asking for things in shops and restaurants where it is not a 'life or death' situation.
  • Reflect on your successes. Realize how new beliefs are making a difference.

See also

Beliefs, Beliefs about people


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