Definition originally from Wikipedia:
Assertiveness is a skill taught by many personal development experts and psychotherapists and the subject of many popular self-help books. It is linked to self-esteem and considered an important communication skill.
As a communication style and strategy, Assertiveness is distinguished from Aggression and Passivity. How people deal with personal boundaries; their own and those of other people, helps to distinguish between these three concepts. Passive communicators do not defend their own personal boundaries and thus allow aggressive people to harm or otherwise unduly influence them. They are also typically not likely to risk trying to influence anyone else. Aggressive people do not respect the personal boundaries of others and thus are liable to harm others while trying to influence them. A person communicates assertively by not being afraid to speak his or her mind or trying to influence others, but doing so in a way that respects the personal boundaries of others. They are also willing to defend themselves against aggressive incursions.
I was came across an old post of mine on another website, and I have changed my opinion on a few matters regarding assertiveness. We are witnessing a breakthrough in social networking technology. Life is being lived on the internet, in real time. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and plethora of other networks are becoming the 4th estate, no longer depending on News 'entertainment' anchors to give them information. We witness marriage proposals via YouTube, wedding invitations via TheKnot.com, birth announcements via email, and relationships ending over Facebook relationship status changes.
Men and women today are running into the problem of NOT being assertive, but rather being aggressive and cruel. They are convinced by social conditioning that being assertive means being aggressive but that is not the case. People are running over or being run over by their spouses, other family members, doctors, or perfect strangers and sharing it all online. We are unable to find a balance between being domineering and being assertive. We are unable to see where we end and others begin.
Parents specifically have obligations in raising their children, online. We have responsibility to look at how we are modeling behavior for our children to follow.How can we instill self confidence, and respect in our children if we do not have it for ourselves?How do we show our kids how to interact if we run roughshod over people who disagree with us, or revert to name calling or online threats? If we are unable to stand up and be a conscientious member of society because our family might see it on our Facebook status updates, how will our children have the confidence to stand up for what's right?
I really hope that we can take to heart how toxic both passive and aggressive behavior can perpetuate the cycle in our kids and try to prevent that. It isn't just about us when we are assertive, we aren't being selfish by asserting a reasonable boundary. We are helping our children to learn healthy ways to deal with others and communicate with others. On one hand, if we find ourselves biting your tongue more often than not to "keep the peace" and finding ourselves being used by people,we need to speak up! If we find our tongues are lashing out and wounding others with callousness and coldness, then we need to take a step back and regroup. We can also take a step back and see where we might be modeling wrong behavior in our personal lives, as well.