Are You Assertive Enough? Here's How to Know for Sure

January 22, 2014 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Are you assertive enough? Assess your assertiveness and see where you could improve to build healthy self-esteem with the guidance in this self-help post.

If you are assertive enough, chances are your have healthy self-esteem. If your self-esteem is lacking, you may not be assertive enough to protect your interests. Standing up for your rights and needs in a respectful manner is a way of asserting yourself but can be hard to do. Honest and appropriate expression of your feelings, opinions, or needs isn't something we are born with, its learned. So the good news is that you can learn how to be assertive at any age.

You Lose Self-Esteem If You Are Not Assertive Enough

Without assertiveness, you are often left feeling guilty, unsettled, bad about yourself, or upset at others. All of these outcomes lead to low self-esteem. When you are assertive, you respect yourself. You have:

  • Less anxiety and more self-esteem.
  • More trust in your abilities and others have more trust in you.
  • Ability to establish healthy boundaries and healthy relationships.
  • Reached a point where others don’t take advantage of you.
  • Others who respect you.

The way we communicate with others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. When you don’t speak up for yourself, it gives others the impression that you have very little self-respect. The same is true when you express yourself in an aggressive or demanding style; people stop listening and lose respect. Assertiveness is saying what you need or want and expressing it effectively.

What keeps you from saying what you want and asking for what you need? It can be a habit or automatic response. You may fall into avoidance or aggressive communication styles when feeling stressed out or upset (Communicate with Confidence: Must Have Skills). They may show up in particular situations, with specific people, or by feeling different emotions.

How to Know If You Are Assertive Enough

Find out what areas make you act in a passive, self-destructive, or aggressive way. Answer these questions honestly.

Are you an assertive person or unassertive? Here are 6 questions to help you assess your assertiveness.

1. When initiating conversations, do you tend to shy away from starting up a dialogue and wait for others to make the first move? Or do you dive in without hesitation, chit chat with ease?

2. After a conversation or interaction, do you ever worry about how others perceived you? When you leave the situation, are you often plagued with thoughts about what you could have said differently, should have avoided, or the way you acted?

3. Are there particular people you feel totally comfortable with (sharing your feelings or asking for help)? Who are these people and why do you think you feel this way around them

4. Are there people in your life that you feel nervous or angry around? Perhaps you notice feeling fake, like you have to pretend or put on a “mask” of your real self? Do you notice negative feelings about yourself when you leave their company? Who are these people and why do you think you feel this way?

5. When talking to others, do you ever get tense muscles, butterflies in your stomach, or feel like your heart’s beating out of your chest? What people or situations make your body feel like you want to shy away?

6. Do you ever avoid situations due to the fear of not knowing what to say or do? What situations have you avoided?

By answering these questions, you are able to get a better understanding of what triggers your unassertive behavior.

If you noticed you avoid speaking up or interacting with others, even if you feel nervous, you may need to work on your passivity. This leads you to feel anxious, angry with yourself, and others, leading to lower self-esteem.

These self-esteem articles will also help you become more assertive:

If you noticed you get angry or upset with others or feel upset at their presence, you may need to work on your assertiveness skills as well. Your response has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. If you treat others with disrespect, it is a sign that you feel that way about yourself too.

These articles may help you communicate with confidence:

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2014, January 22). Are You Assertive Enough? Here's How to Know for Sure, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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