Why Being Assertive is Not the Same as Being Aggressive

Hey there, magic makers. Have you ever felt like you had to get all aggressive just to achieve your goals? Or maybe someone called you aggressive when all you were doing was standing up for yourself and your beliefs? Let's have a chat about it. In this post, we'll dive into why being assertive isn't the same as being aggressive, and we'll explore how you can confidently and effectively assert yourself while still being respectful.

This month we're going to talk A LOT about assertiveness in our weekly love letters. We're going to talk about knowing when to speak up, how to do it while still being respectful, finding courage and confidence when speaking up, strategies for dealing with criticism or pushback from others, and how setting boundaries is an important step in being assertive.
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So, what is assertiveness anyways?|
Assertiveness means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a direct and honest way, without attacking or belittling others. Assertive people use “I” statements to communicate their thoughts and feelings, listen to others, and seek solutions that benefit everyone involved. Being assertive also means setting boundaries, saying “no” when necessary, and standing up for yourself and your beliefs.

Aggression, on the other hand, means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a hostile and threatening way, with the intention of dominating or intimidating others. Aggressive people use “you” statements, insults, and personal attacks to communicate their message, ignore or disregard others’ feelings and opinions, and seek to win at all costs. Aggression often leads to conflict, resentment, and isolation.

Being assertive is an essential part of personal development, self-respect, and healthy relationships. When you're assertive, you communicate your needs and expectations clearly, establish mutual respect and trust, and solve problems in a constructive way. You also avoid misunderstandings, resentment, and guilt that may arise from not expressing yourself honestly and directly. Being assertive can also boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, and sense of control over your life.

Assertiveness is a skill that can be learned and practiced. Here are some tips on how to be assertive without being aggressive:

- Use “I” statements to express your thoughts and feelings
- Listen actively to others’ perspectives and concerns
- Be specific and clear about what you want and need
- Set boundaries and prioritize your values and goals
- Use confident body language and tone of voice
- Seek compromise and win-win solutions
- Respect others’ feelings and opinions, even if you disagree

Examples of assertive vs aggressive communication

Assertive communication: “I understand that you’re busy, but I really need your help with this project. Could we talk about how we can make it work for both of us?”

Aggressive communication: “Can’t you see that I’m drowning here? You’re always too busy to help anyone else. Do you want me to fail?”

Assertive communication: “I enjoy spending time with you, but I need some alone time to recharge my batteries. Could we schedule some me-time and some us-time?”

Aggressive communication: “You’re always crowding me and draining my energy. Can’t you take a hint and leave me alone?”

Assertiveness is not about being aggressive, rude, or pushy. It’s about being confident, respectful, and effective in expressing yourself and solving problems. When you practice assertiveness, you’ll find that you have more control over your life, more respect from others, and more peace of mind. So, go ahead and assert yourself, with grace and power!


Here's a great piece to start working on your assertiveness today! 

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