09 Sep How Being Assertive Can Improve Communication, Reduces Stress and Boosts Our Self-Confidence!
Explore Assertive-Communication with a Melbourne Psychologist
Did you know that Assertive-Communication helps us to meet our life goals, all which make life meaningful?
How often have you experienced communication difficulties when you wanted to express yourself more clearly but felt you couldn’t?
In today’s world, assertiveness is one of the most effective communication methods to build better relationships and convey thoughts and feelings. This is important in personal relationships with friends and family members, as well as within the work setting. A relationship built with assertive communication is usually based on mutual trust and respect. Without communicating our needs, our relationships may break down due to unmet needs and consequently unsaid frustrations or disappointment. This takes us to something we often call assertiveness skills training.
To put into context, when exploring relationships or challenging family dynamics, or even when unpacking workplace challenges, these common assumptions/beliefs often surface:
- I have already had the conversation.
- I am not sure how to approach it.
- I will not benefit from that.
- What is the point –nothing will change.
- It may ruin the relationship further.
- I would prefer to avoid the conversation.
- It is too confrontational.
- I would prefer to ignore it.
- It doesn’t seem fair they get away with it – it’s so infuriating.
- Why should I keep allowing it – they need to learn.
How can a Psychologist Assist me?
Our psychologists are experienced in managing a range of challenging situations with family and work colleagues. Our warm and compassionate team of Melbourne psychologists are trained in evidence-based skills to better communicate and lessen feelings of frustration when triggered. A combination of learning strategies to effectively communicate your needs (assertiveness skills training) and to improve your thinking patterns (involving CBT strategies), to help reduce intense emotional responses. This can significantly improve mood, self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
What are the 4 Steps to Assertive Communication?
Show that you hear and understand the person’s needs, feelings or situation.
Express your feelings or thoughts using an ‘I’ statement. I feel hurt, sad, and upset. Not I feel that you are….
Specify the actions you want from the other person or what you want to happen. Soften at the beginning and include an appreciation statement. This needs to be a positive need.
Bring up the expected positive outcomes of change. You may also mention the negative aspects of no change to give heads up on what could be the probable outcomes of the situation.
4 Benefits Of Being Assertive
1. Better communication.
Your assertive behaviour is excellent for both parties. If you communicate effectively, let the other person know how you feel about certain behaviours and your needs. Your interactions will improve. Should the other person not understand then remember this is not a reflection on you, but may be a reflection on the other person not being reasonable. This is when you may benefit from engaging with a psychologist to explore boundaries and other strategies to ensure your needs are not remaining unmet and your esteem lowered.
2. Reduce stress.
Let’s admit that aggressive communication can be stressful (as it can be passive); one person involved generally feels embarrassed or threatened. With assertive communication, you acknowledge the other person’s feelings while openly sharing your side and looking for the best solution for the situation. It removes the ignoring or avoiding – the tucking under the rug with resentment building over time.
3. Build trust
Trust has always been important in any relationship, whether personal or business. Being assertive and trustworthy in your communication significantly builds connection and trust.
4. Boosts confidence
If you hide your feelings or interact with others without caring about their thoughts or feelings, you are either lowering your self-esteem or building it with the wrong foundation. Assertive behaviour shows that you’re brave enough to stand up for your rights and control what you say. You balance clearly stating your needs and giving the other person the chance to do the same and feel equal.
How can Positive Wellbeing Psychology Help?
Our highly skilled psychologists are well-trained in a range of well-researched therapies and techniques to help improve assertive communication. This is a challenging skill to apply due to the multiple moving parts- it is never straightforward. A number of factors need to be considered, as the person you’re trying to be assertive to may not always be receptive. It may have been some time when you have tried and therefore feel that it is helpless to try again. Assertiveness skills are not something we’re taught in school and managing difficult behaviours is also not a skill we are born with. Hence, it is the most commonly weaved issue that we find arises in the safe therapeutic space. Let’s also add that it often involves boundary setting as well.
Assertiveness is a skill that we all try to aim for, as it’s the best of both sides — you meet your needs and also the needs of the other person, then everyone ends up happy (in an ideal world!), but it is not so straightforward. Therefore, our Malvern private practice matches you with the best-suited Melbourne-based psychologists based on your individual needs and personal preferences.
Our psychologists work with adults, children, adolescents and their families with various presenting difficulties, including depression, anxiety, stress and burn-out, relationship difficulties, eating disorders, poor body image, adjustment difficulties, school refusal, bullying, low self-esteem and sleep difficulties. Keep in mind that low self-esteem and anxiety often overlap with avoidance of communication of one’s needs.