Assertive Communication: Express What You Feel Without Guilt

Assertive Communication: Express What You Feel Without Guilt

Last update: 22 September, 2016

Assertive communication is not as easy as we think. It can come along with feelings of guilt over expressing what we really want to say.

How many times have you held your tongue to avoid feeling guilty? This happens when we are afraid to say say what we mean, especially if that is a disagreement or a criticism. We usually feel guilt if we say something others don’t want to hear, even if we believe it’s for the best.

When you say “yes” to other people, be sure that you are not saying “no” to yourself.

Learning to say what we want

Wolf Howling at Moon

The word “assertiveness” is related to security. A sensation of walking firmly and saying what you want at the exact moment when you want to express it. More than once, you’ve surely held something in that you really wanted to share with others. This is not being assertive; this is insecurity.

Clearly our words can offend, they can be displeasing, and they can even end up hurting others. The important thing is knowing how to express them without the intention to hurt the other party, even if that ends up a side effect of our words.

The truth can hurt. Knowing the opinions of others sometimes turns out to be unpleasant, but we must learn to fight against this fear to be silent.

“Nor submission nor aggression. If the balance is ‘assertiveness.’”

-Riso, Walter-

Is it difficult to be assertive? Is it difficult to practice effective assertive communication? If you are sure of yourself and have strong communication skills, then it will be much easier for you to communicate assertively. The complete opposite will happen if you are an easily manipulated person, uncertain, and if you suffer from emotional instability.

Characteristics of assertive people

Do you want to know if you are already an assertive person? If your communication is assertive? These are the qualities of assertive communicators:

  • They clearly express their feelings and desires, independently of whether these are positive or negative.
  • They resolve problems based on their own criteria, not those of others.
  • They say “no” without fear and without making excuses.
  • They do not lie and they do not argue.
  • They accept criticism and understand the speaker’s position.
  • They come to agreements, offer alternatives, and negotiate.
Woman at Floating Window

If you feel like you identified with these characteristics, you are an assertive person; if not, today we are going to look at the steps you can take to bring out that assertiveness that is hidden within you.

Trust yourself

Having trust in yourself will be the first step towards expressing what you really want. Nobody but you can have that long-awaited trust. It must come from inside you.

“If you want it, you can fly; you just have to trust you a lot.”

-Steve Jobs-

But in addition to trust and security in yourself, you have to know what guidelines you must follow to successfully express what you really want.

Woman with Jar of Fireflies
  • Feel good about yourself. You have the right to decide, the right to express yourself, the right to have your own thoughts.
  • Show security in your ability to choose. You have the right to choose what you want and desire.
  • Emit strength and conviction. If you do not, others will try to manipulate you and you will fall into the claws of “unassertiveness.” Be sure of what you want and you will share this.
  • Respect the opinions of others. All opinions are worthy of respect and none is better than another so long as they are coherent. Nobody should impose their opinion.

These are some of the things that you have to keep in mind if you want to start communicating assertively. But keep in mind that you must be aware of whether the moment is right, of the sensitivity of the other party, and to control our emotions so we do not come off aggressive.

Saying what we want without feeling guilty

If you achieve this, you have achieved something big: being able to express what you feel without feeling guilty about it.

Set loose the assertiveness that resides within you, always empathizing with the other party. Be sensitive so you can express yourself  without hurting the other person. Assertive communication is in you. Use it.

Woman Walking Away From Partner

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.