Many people struggle with
assertiveness and it is sometimes confused with aggressiveness.
Healthy relationships require assertiveness skills. There are many
irrational beliefs associated with assertiveness. This is a list of
common irrational beliefs and their more rational counterparts.
1. If I assert myself,
others will get mad at me.
- If I assert myself, the
effects may be positive, neutral or negative. I have the legitimate
right to be assertive. If I assert myself, people may or may not
get mad at me. They may feel closer to me, like what I say or do,
or help me to solve the problem. I can't expect people to read my
2. If I assert myself and
people do become angry with me, I will be devastated. It will be
- Even if others do become
angry and unpleasant, I can handle it without falling apart. I
don't have to feel responsible for the other person's anger. It may
be his or her problem.
3. Although I prefer others
to be straightforward with me, I'm afraid that if I am open with
others and say “no”, I will hurt them.
- If I'm assertive, other
people may or may not feel hurt. If I prefer to be dealt with
directly, quite likely others will too.
4. If my assertion hurts
others, I am responsible for their feelings.
- Even if others do feel
hurt by my assertive behavior, I can let them know I care for them
while also being direct about what I need or want. Most people are
not so vulnerable and fragile that they will be shattered by my
5. It is wrong and selfish
to turn down legitimate requests. Others will think I'm terrible
and won't like me.
- Even legitimate requests
can be refused assertively. It is acceptable to consider my own
needs, sometimes before those of others. I can't please everyone
all of the time.
6. I must avoid making
statements and asking questions that might make me look ignorant or
- It's okay to lack
information or make a mistake. I'm human.
7. Assertive women are
cold, castrating bitches that others don't like.
- Assertive women are
direct and honest, and behave appropriately. They show a genuine
concern for other people's rights and feelings as well as their own.
Their assertiveness enriches their relationships with others.