Many times you may find yourself having difficulty-telling people what you think, or feel, or need. You may hesitate to let others know these things, thinking people will believe you’re silly or not intelligent. Sometimes you may believe that if you express yourself directly then others will become hurt or angry. You may even believe that others, especially those close to you, should know how you feel. Assertive behavior can help you in dealing with these difficult feelings.

What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is expressing your thoughts and feelings and needs directly to others. Assertiveness is different from aggressiveness, or telling other people off, or giving someone a piece of your mind. In assertiveness, while you express your needs, you respect the other person’s thought, feelings, and needs. Aggressive behavior can be hurtful and overbearing. Assertiveness avoids this.

Assertiveness is unlike passiveness. Passive behavior is an unwillingness to express feelings and thoughts directly. Sometimes being reluctant to do this is a result of fear of being rejected or being seen as stupid by others. Passive behavior discounts our own importance and demonstrates a lack of self-respect. An outcome of passive behavior is a “build-up and blow-out” of anger. When you fail to express yourself directly, the result is a continual feeling of low self- esteem.

How Can I Become Assertive?

Assertiveness begins in believing in yourself as “the new person you are in Christ.” You may start by identifying what you like about yourself and be willing to stand up for yourself. You can practice assertive behavior by:

1) Using “I” messages. When expressing feelings or opinions say, “I feel…,” ; I believe…,” or “I think…” Avoid “you” messages. “You” messages sound accusatory and may put the other person on the defensive. If you are asking the other person to change his/her behavior, describe the behavior you would like to see changed and indicate how their present behavior causes you to feel. An example: “I feel angry/hurt when you don’t consider my opinions. It makes me think you don’t respect my feelings.”

2) Remember you are not responsible for the feelings of other people. You can be sensitive and respectful of other people’s feelings; however each individual is responsible for taking care of their own feelings.

3) Look assertive – using good body language.
a) Maintain good eye contact with the person to whom you are
b) Stand erect. Sometimes standing with your feet 6-8 inches apart causes you to feel a solid base of support and can actually help you feel stronger.
c) Speak clearly and loudly so the other person can hear you. Let your voice sound confident and strong. Do not whine!
d) Use facial expressions and gestures to emphasize what you are

4) Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. Whenever you change an old pattern, the new pattern or behavior feels strange. Let the uncomfortable feeling work for you. Use that as a red flag reminding you to pause and think about what you want to say; what you are actually saying; and how you are appearing.

5) Sometimes in the beginning, it’s helpful to choose a good role model, someone who consistently demonstrates assertive behavior.

6) Reward Yourself!!! Remember other people don’t have to like what you say. You can pat yourself on the back for expressing yourself directly!!

Remember!!! Assertiveness takes commitment, practice, and a willingness to experiment with new positive behaviors.



Over the years I have observed lots of people from all directions in life. One of the things I notice lacking is they live way too busy and serious, most of the time. They’re trying to either survive the mess they are in, or they are spinning their wheels trying to be enough for themselves or someone else in a PBA (Performance Based Acceptance) lifestyle. They are busy trying to make enough money to make ends meet or they are sitting around doing nothing in what our grandson calls “Code B” meaning… BORED! All these things are sad to me when you could be enjoying life. I don’t mean being lazy, not responsible but it’s about having a mindset like a child. You can use what I call, the “KISS” method. I call it, Keep It Simply Simple!

Yesterday we went to Atlanta; Phil just had to go by the Apple Computer Store, which is like a candy store to him. I can’t complain, since he is my Tec Support, when he

goes in there I benefit. We ate at the food court and he went on his way to having “his way of fun”. I finished my food and just sat and watched people. This mall we go to has a Carousel on the border of the food court.
It captured my attention.

I watched happy kids get on and off. The music was happy; the sounds of laughter and the smiles brought a good feeling in me. I noticed on the surrounding areas sat grandparents or parents, they would wave every time their child would come back around, giving even bigger smiles each time. As I went to leave I walked by a grandmother waving. I smiled at her and said, “lots of memories being built right here” and she nodded and said “Oh Yes!” as she kept waving…..

My mind races back to a place my parents took me to ride the merry-go-round. It was called Lakewood Park. We lived almost next to the park, one street over. You could sit on our porch and hear the sounds of the Fairgrounds, especially in the fall season.

I couldn’t wait for daddy to pay for my ride, and then stand in line waiting for the man to swing open the gate and say, “you can get on now”. As I stepped up on the platform that was waiting for its participants, my friend Sandra and I would search frantically for the best outside one that would give us the best ride. It was a race because there were others doing the same thing. We would finally find one that was not stationary. Oh, that was major important! It had to go up and down and we had to be next to each other. We would get on and hold on tight waiting for the guy to start it going round and round. As it went around we felt the breeze blowing in our blond curls. We felt like we were the “stuff” looking over to see who was watching in the crowd of people. I saw mom and dad smiling, waving each time I went around. I can still hear the sounds of the music today. That must be the reason I was so spell bound at the mall yesterday. The music, laughter, the smiles, the kids running to find that special one to ride did make me think back to the days I was a child and how to have fun.

We need to stop neglecting the little child within us. We need to laugh more, explore more, discover what it’s like to have fun…… again!