While there are many ways to define the term "assertiveness," some simply describe it as "the ability to say no." This definition is a bit deceptive, and does not give a truly accurate definition of what assertiveness actually mean.
The reason is because the manner in which you say "no" can mean the difference between coming across as being assertive, and coming across as being aggressive.
There are a lot of ways in which you can tell a person "no" but you want to do it in a manner which is assertive as opposed to aggressive. If you are like many people, you do not like the idea of having to tell others that you do not like to do something, or that you do not like what they are doing.
There are many career fields where saying "no," especially to superiors, can get you in a world of trouble. Two of the best examples of such career fields include the military and police forces.
At the same time, you do not want to say "yes" to everything people request of you, especially when it is something that you do not wish to do. The biggest problem that many people face is that they often find themselves being patient or compliant with others for far too long. These people will often finally ignite and then say something that they often end up regretting.
There are generally three ways in which people explode, and the first of these is the anger that keeps growing in your head. More often than not, an individual around you will keep doing something that is annoying and aggravating, and eventually you reach the end of your rope.
The problem with exploding is that those who do it may explode at others who have nothing to do with it.
For example, imagine the mother that abuses her child at the end of a stressful day at work because her boss is driving her over the edge. This is referred to as venting, or taking out your frustrations on someone who has nothing to do with the situation. You can say "no" without being nasty, but also without being nice
In a social setting, humans can best be described as acting like billiard balls, constantly bouncing into and around each other. It is impossible to go throughout life without having some form of conflict.
Not only will you have conflict in your personal relationships, but you will also have conflict in your business relationships as well. When someone asks you to do something you do not want to do, never be afraid to say no, and when you say no, mean it.
Even if you are someone such as a soldier or police officer, and your superiors want you to do something which is against your value system, you should have no problem saying no.
While you run the risk of losing your job, being demoted, or being punished, you need to have boundaries, and if someone is unwilling to respect those boundaries, including superiors, you should have no problem walking away.
Your dignity and respect should always be more important to you than a job or money. In many cases, once people realize you are willing to walk away, this is generally when they will give in and leave you alone.
Being assertive requires you to stand your ground without offending others, but there are times when you may have to offend others.
For example, if someone is attacking your physically, being assertive will not be very useful. You will need to defend yourself, and this may require you to use excessive force.
In most areas of our life, this level of aggressiveness is not necessary. Simple assertiveness and the ability to say no is often important.
Controlling Your Emotions
When people do things to annoy you, or they treat you in a manner that you feel is disrespectful, the easiest thing to do is blow up. Equally easy is to handle the situation by ignoring it.
An assertive person will handle the situation in a manner that shows the other person they will not allow themselves to be walked on, but they also do it in a way that is respectful.