What is assertiveness?

  • Assertiveness is a way of communicating with other people that allows you to advocate for your needs while also respecting the rights and needs of others. It is usually considered to be a happy medium between being too passive or too aggressive, and a healthy alternative to being passive-aggressive. 

  • Many people struggle with asserting their own needs in a healthy way. If this kind of behaviour was not modeled in the environment you grew up in, you might not be sure how to do it. Also, if you struggle with anxiety, the thought of speaking up for yourself can be very scary and you might worry about how it could go wrong. If you have depression, you might think that other people don't care about your needs, so there is no point asking for what you need. 

  • People who have experienced trauma might have extreme ways of dealing with their own needs. Some might rarely advocate for themselves, be very passive, and end up being treated poorly by other people on a regular basis. Others may be very demanding and aggressive, resulting in people around them having their rights and needs trampled on. These kinds of extreme behaviours are often a reflection of what they had to do to survive when they were growing up or what was modelled for them by adults. 

  • People who are passive when it comes to their needs may have a very hard time setting healthy boundaries with other people. For example, they may feel like they are not allowed to say no and have to go along with what other people want. This can result in them feeling overwhelmed, resentful, and exploited. It can also lead to burnout.

  • If you struggle with communicating and setting boundaries in a healthy way, it is important to explore your beliefs about yourself and what your rights are. Addressing symptoms of anxiety or depression can be very helpful as well, making it easier to challenge thoughts and feelings that prevent you from speaking up for yourself. Reaching out to a therapist for assertiveness counselling can also be a helpful step. 


More information about assertiveness and boundaries:





If you are struggling with assertiveness and setting boundaries, please reach out to book a free consultation.