What is Assertiveness?


When we talk about assertiveness, the first word that shines to associate the term is right or right, which refers to correct or how it should be done , relatively that is what assertiveness is about, to be correct in what we do and how we do it , specifically in the area of communication , assertive communication , the correct flow of words and tone of voice; And although it is not taken much importance, it also acts as a filter when interacting day to day.


What is Assertiveness?

It is both an innate ability and a strategy that is commonly used in society when it comes to communicating, giving the scoop that we all have rights and duties, that each person has the ability to give their opinion openly, to express themselves without affecting opinions or opinions. rights of others around you. It is considered as the midpoint of all polarity , when it speaks of polarity it refers to two totally opposite extremes, in this case it is the midpoint of the extreme of passivity, in which the individual allows their opinions to be broken by third parties, thus leaving aggressiveness at the other extreme, in which the subject lashes out with violence against his environment, thus superimposing his will and opinion, without even respecting the rights of others.



The ability to express our wishes in a friendly, frank, open, direct and appropriate way, managing to say what we want without threatening others. Negotiating with them their compliance.



Andrew Salter around 1940, defined assertiveness as a personality trait that according to his criteria, some people possessed and others did not , however it was not until 1958 that the first concept of assertiveness appeared as such, thanks to Joseph Wolpe and Richard Lazarus , who discovered that almost everyone can be assertive in some situations and not in others, however, everyone could be capable of developing it.

And it is until mid-1971 that Marshall incorporates assertiveness as a social skill, which can be trained and learned, after that in 1975 by Eisler the BAT (Behavioral Assertiveness Test) was performed , which is a test that measures the assertive behavior in a person.

Assertiveness characteristics

Some characteristics of assertiveness are as follows:

  • I respect.
  • Communication.
  • Expression of ideas.
  • Managing emotions.


The main elements of assertiveness are:

  • Two or more people.
  • A topic of conversation or some kind of relationship or bond.
  • Communication flow.
  • Mutual respect.

What is it for

As explained above, assertiveness is a tool that is used basically on a daily basis, so it can be critically necessary, thanks to this, conversations become pleasant and comfortable, since where there is assertive communication there is a good flow of words and a correct management of emotions , which makes communicating easier, specifying that assertiveness as a social skill serves the following:

  • Give opinions.
  • Express negative emotions and show positive emotions.
  • Start and end a conversation correctly.
  • Share feelings and ideals.
  • Solve everyday problems.


In order to be assertive, some principles must be respected, which are:

  • Respect for others and for oneself.
  • Right to express your own feelings and opinions.
  • Right to be heard and taken into account.
  • Right to judge my needs.
  • Right to set my priorities and make my own decisions.
  • Right to say no without feeling guilty.
  • Right to make mistakes.
  • Right to be direct with what I want and get it.

Behavior types

Inhibited or passive

They generally have a low and insecure tone of voice, do what most of the people in their environment tell them, make decisions on impulse or fear of what third parties say and are not able to defend their rights or their opinions .


This type of communication is completely the opposite of the other, they are characterized by having a high tone of voice and tend to attack third parties defending their will and their ideals , being able to reach the point of fights and threats; their rights go over others, thus making other people feel inferior.

How to develop assertiveness

Since it is defined as a social skill, assertiveness is a behavior that can very well be learned, even as adults we learn from our environment and close friends, therefore simply spending time with a person who is innately assertive is a good way to copy The conduct.

However, it is important to note that if the individual is very reluctant and impulsive, it will cost him a little more to adapt to said behavior, for which psychotherapies such as cognitive restructuring are recommended , to eliminate all traces of negativity from the individual and thus achieve that he drives better way your thoughts and emotions; having as final product the filter that would be assertiveness .

Causes of Lack of Assertiveness

  • Completely aggressive or passive role models.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Positive and negative reinforcements applied to the individual throughout their development.
  • Sociability and ability to interact.

How assertiveness differs from empathy

Empathy is the ability that human beings have to place ourselves on the feet of another, to understand their reasons and motives , assertiveness on the contrary is a tool that can be innate of course, that helps to improve the quality of life of the person , making them express their opinions and ideals, without fear of being judged, at the right time and in the right way, without interfering with the opinions of others and having respect as a main value .


Here are some prominent phrases about assertiveness:

  • In life they treat you just as you teach people to treat you.
  • If you want to be respected by others, it is best to respect yourself. For that reason alone, out of your own respect for yourself, inspire others to respect you.
  • Neither submission nor aggression: Assertiveness.
  • There is nothing wrong with power if used correctly, what is needed is the understanding that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
  • Ruthless justice turns into cruelty, and mercy without justice is weakness.
  • We must never stop being ourselves by being accepted.
  • I hate victims when they respect their executioners.
  • The most important thing I learned to say after the age of forty was to say no, when it is no.


  • Assertiveness: Expression of a healthy self-esteem, Olga Castanyer.
  • Assertiveness, Eva Barch.
  • Assertiveness at work: How do I say what I feel and say what I think?
  • Applications of assertiveness, Olga Castanyer.
  • I’m going to be assertive, Olga Castanyer.
  • Why can not I be assertive?
  • How to be yourself without guilt? Eduardo Aguilar.
  •  Make your voice heard without yelling.


The importance of this skill lies above all in the quality of life that is offered to those who practice it, it improves interpersonal relationships and affective ties after a period of time, since when they begin to be assertive although what is improved the most is The way we communicate also affects all the daily areas of our life, giving us peace of mind wherever we are, since our own opinion is given, without affecting or minimizing that of others, respecting the rights of each person.

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