What if I told you that your communication style is costing you your health and harmony.
Would you believe me?
In addition, it enumerates ways you can practice assertive communication to build your relationships.
Bonus- You will learn to build and maintain a vigorous health (both physical and emotional) too.
Assertive communication is all about exhibiting precision in communication of wants or needs, without malinger or manipulation.
Let me take you on a definition tour…
Definition of assertive communication
Assertive communication means to understand your need, and clearly state it.
This type of communication does not attempt to control the other person’s reaction. It does not matter how they react or feel, what matters is that you are clearly stating your need and they are clearly responding in the way that they deem fit.
Any attempt to stifle or control the other person’s reaction becomes a manipulative way of communication.
Why is assertive communication an effective strategy?
For effective strategy, assertive communication is important in the following ways:
Assertive communication allows you to validate the other person’s feeling without encouraging the behavior.
- It fosters directness in communication, which is far able to teach assertion.
- It enhances sound health of mind and body.
- Assertive communication reduces conflicts or tensions and enforces healthy boundaries in relationships.
- Assertiveness creates calm in communication and relationships.
- It eliminates stress which can lead to anxiety, thereby leading to bad physical and emotional health.
- Assertive communication allows you communicate in a way that upholds your right, while also respecting the rights of others.
- It boosts confidence.
- It takes into account your own need as well as others need in a balanced way.
- Assertiveness allows you to stand up for yourself without passively permitting wrong against us.
Examples of Assertive communication
“You owe me an apology for taking my purse without my permission”- direct and clear communication
Someone extends an invite on a short notice which is clearly a disregard for your own time
Response: “Oh.. unfortunately I have plans already for this evening”- You are clearly stating that your time is honorable to you.
How does one adopt a communication style?
Internalization– Learning fosters internalization. This allows any learning become automatic and a pattern. Seeing how your unhealthy communication pattern takes its root allows you undo and change it when it regurgitates.
Consistency– Awareness, consistency and practice helps you unlearn old patterns to relearn new ways of communication.
The communication style you practice is influenced by how your own parents or caregivers communicated to you during childhood or even until date.
This becomes a pattern of communication around your home and you extend it outside of your home because it has become an ingrained habituation and an ‘effective’ and only strategy.
Other Types of communication
Passive aggressive, aggressive, and calm submissive behavior
These communication strategies come from the hollow of poor self-esteem.
What is passive aggressive behavior?
Passive aggressive behavior is trying to manipulate people’s behavior without telling them directly. It appears when you communicate a thing without directly coming out to say it.
This is often a way you draw attention to yourself at the expense of another person.
When you communicate using passive aggressiveness, you stand the risk of nurturing resentment, which could eventually lead to anxiety, thereby, leading to bad emotional and physical health.
Passive aggressive examples include:
Silence, sarcasm, guilt-inducing, patronizing and malice.
Aggressive behavior as the name implies is a means a person employs to shut down or attack their perceived predator, as they unconsciously perceive themselves to be of less value, thereby, a potential target for attack.
Aggressiveness is manifest in bullying, controlling, arrogant, and dominating behaviors.
This is often a pattern a person learns from childhood as a way to respond to or relate with other members of the society especially in a pyramid setting as top-bottom relationship.
Unfortunately, the pyramid setting is forged from the person’s environment of nurture- Parent-child or Adult-child relationship.
Calm submissive behavior
Calm submissive behavior occurs when a person meets a passive aggressive or direct aggressive behavior with calm submissiveness.
Typical examples of calm submissive behaviors are sulking, whining, indecisiveness, moaning, retreating, helplessness and being apologetic.
When a person discerns manipulation in another person’s style of communication and permits that without a direct negation, he or she reinforces to the other the effectiveness of such communication style.
Calm submissiveness erodes a person’s ability to stand up for themselves.
However, assertive communication places you on a plane of honesty, directness and openness.
What is the difference between assertive and aggressive communication?
An assertive communication manifests in a calm, direct and respectful manner, while it takes into cognizance the dignity of the other person as well.
Alternatively, aggressive communication manifests in a rude, disrespectful, debasing and controlling manner. Additionally, aggressive communication does not take into account the feelings, thoughts or overall dignity of the other person.
How do you practice assertive communication?
To practice assertiveness, the first thing that comes to mind is precision.
- Say exactly what you mean. This is precision; in it, you find clarity.
- Engage in active listening: Do not just wait for your turn to speak, listen calmly.
- Neutralize any attempt at guilt-inducing behaviors or communication.
- Speak calmly- Assertiveness cannot thrive when you are tensed.
- Practice it often and again.
Assertive communication does not guarantee that you get what you want. Moreover, chances are that the other person who has practiced other means of communication their whole lives might find your communication style brash and aggressive.
Remember, that as long as you have spoken the truth, you are not responsible for their reaction, and they are not obliged to do what you want.
Learning assertive communication style helps reduce tension and ward off resentment between yourself and your target; also, it is in the interest of the growth of both parties
Assertive communication has a great benefit in ensuring a good physical and emotional well-being, which is undoubtedly a profound strategy for self-care and self-responsibility.
What communication strategy have you been practicing?