Find happiness in assertiveness

Find happiness in assertiveness

A few weeks ago I was asked, by one of our regular Facebook Followers, to comment on the relationship between assertiveness and happiness. It has, as you can see, taken me a while to get round to responding but I guess it's always better to be late than to never arrive!

Anyway, it's an important question/topic so I hope the thoughts and ideas I've put together below might be of some use not just to Kellie, who asked the original question, but to many more, and maybe even all of you reading this today…

Let's begin at the beginning and reflect upon what happiness, real happiness is (and isn't). Firstly, it's NOT hedonism and it's NOT selfishness. What it is, in my humble opinion, is the nexus of self-care and altruism, the interconnection of self-love and compassion for others. As such, for real and meaningful happiness we need to look after ourselves AND THEN do what we can to look after others. 

To achieve both of these aims we need, obviously, to communicate; internally and externally. That is, we need to say the right things in our own minds and say the right things when communicating with others. 

By "right things" I mean being assertive; and this is a commonly misunderstood term so let's now spend a few sentences clarifying what this really looks like. Although not perfect, the simplest way to define assertiveness is to differentiate it from aggressiveness and passivity. In short…

  • aggression is when we try to get our way at the expense of, or with no regards for the other person

  • passivity is when we're overly considerate of others, at our own expense

  • assertiveness is when we find the right balance between the two extremes, taking care of our own needs whilst also being considerate of others.

When conducted well, then, assertive communications are the classic "win-win" in that with some diplomacy and negotiation both parties achieve an acceptable outcome. 

So how do we achieve this in reality? Try this simple tips and remember, like anything, assertiveness requires practice, flexibility and a willingness to tailor your approach to suit different situations…

  • be clear about what you really need and/or want to get out of the situation

  • consider, and check or clarify, what the other person would like to get out out of the situation

  • avoid making assumptions or mind-reading; so check what the other person is thinking and/or believes about what's going on 

  • state your needs as clearly and simply as possible (but remember, you might not be able to get all of what you want)

  • be specific and try to avoid overgeneralising 

  • listen to the other person's needs…and I mean really listen

  • be prepared to be flexible and/or negotiate

Ultimately it should look or sound something like…"This is what I need or want but I'm more than happy to consider what you need or want and let's see if we can find a way for us both to be happy"! 

Sound OK? What do you think? Where and when have you successfully achieved assertiveness and where and when have you found happiness in effecitve communications. Let us know by sharing your thoughts and ideas HERE on our Facebook Page