Being Assertive: Yay or Nay?

Building communication is not an easy thing. Have you ever said something that turned out to be misunderstood by others? Or, did someone feel offended by your words when you do not mean it? That’s because communication itself cannot satisfy all parties.

Also, not everyone can communicate openly and decisively without having to hurt the feelings of others. Therefore, assertive communication is needed to solve this problem. To find out more about this communication skill, and how to use it for your own good, get the answers below.

What Is Assertive Communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to express opinions effectively without having to look aggressive. In general, assertive people can communicate their opinions and feelings honestly, but their words do not make others feel patronized or demeaned.

Sure, applying this type of communication would make you an authentic person because “Yes” will always mean “Yes”, and so does for “No”. Even so, other people may not always agree or follow you, but at least they will trust you.

Characteristics of Assertive Communication Style

Specifically, the communication style refers to how you express feelings and thoughts through indirect messages and behavior. And in assertive communication, they usually show these following behaviors:

  1. Assertive personality can explain feelings and opinion clearly. And usually, their opinions are always accepted by related parties.
  2. Assertive people can express their opinions or feelings patiently, without intending to attack others.
  3. The firm is one of the communication styles occupied by an assertive character. But still, they also do not like to impose their will on others.
  4. When building good communication, assertive people only want to hold in clear and rational conditions.
  5. Assertive people always try to maintain the truth in their words. Although in the end, it may trigger conflict, they may still try to maintain the feelings of others.
  6. A positive approach is also another advantage of an assertive communicator. When faced with problems, they always put aside negative emotions that can complicate the problem.
  7. Confidence and open-minded are other good points of assertive people, which make them quite respected in their social network.
  8. Assertive personality is always open to receive feedback from others, both positive and negative.
  9. A positive and optimistic vision is always put forward by an assertive communicator.
  10. Known to be good at negotiating, assertive people always adhered to the concept of a win-win solution.

Assertive Communication Techniques

Having assertive communication to work effectively, you can apply the following techniques.

  • Learn to use proper body language. First, maintain your eye contact and then keep your posture relaxed. Also, be sure that your facial expressions are in line with the message delivered.
  • Always focus on the topic being discussed. Don’t focus on trying to blame or corner the other person.
  • When expressing some opinions, better use facts and not just assumptions.
  • If the topic is out of line, do a repetition of what you are discussing at that time. You have to do it to return the focus on the right dialogue.
  • Perform a fogging technique. Fogging is the ability of an assertive speaker to respond defensively, without making others feels rejected.
  • Before opening further discussion, give others time to calm down, especially if the discussion was tinged with heated debate.
  • Always maintain your intonation while conveying firmness. Thus, conflict can be avoided.

Why Being Assertive Important?

Being assertive may certainly give you many benefits. If you succeed in using it for your own good, that skill may help you in building a large social network. So, here are the reasons why this communication skill is very important to develop:

  • Assertiveness makes you not hesitate to ask for what you want. Most people don’t succeed in getting what they want just because they don’t dare to express it directly. Therefore, you need assertive communication skill.
  • Assertiveness also makes it easier for you to build a broad social network. By mastering an assertive communication style, you may easily build better relationships, whether with colleagues or in personal life.
  • Being assertive would also make you more confident and authentic. Sure, this skill will make you a true version of yourself.

Final Thoughts

If you do it properly, assertive communication can provide many benefits. For instance, with this communication style, you can build better relationships and be able to express opinions honestly.

However, the application of assertive communication can be conceptual. In certain situations, your assertive behavior may be considered as an act of aggressiveness by others. Even so, assertive communication is still a good choice for building a better personal or career life.

“To be passive is to let others decide for you. To be aggressive is to decide for others. To be assertive is to decide for yourself. And to trust that there is enough, that you are enough. “

—By Edith Eva Eger, in the book of The Choice: Embrace the Possible.

Narcissistic Behavior: What to do about them?

We all know that we are living in a technology era where it is possible even to take pictures of ourselves anytime and anywhere, as well as beautify them on a photo editor app all at once with a handy gadget called smart phone. However, some of us are taking it too far. They are taking selfies at the funerals—with wide smiles—or even at the top of very high buildings!

The next thing we know, taking selfies is now considered a narcissistic behavior as it indicates too much self-love. Is it true? Well, in fact, I’m going to show you more than that—and what to do about them. Keep reading.

A Narcissist: Behind the Name

Let’s start with the name. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)—or also known as “narcissism”—got its name from Greek mythological character, Narcissus. I bet you have heard of him before. Described as exaggerated self-love, pride, and selfishness (or egoism), the psychological condition really represents Narcissus who loved himself too much that he fell for his own reflection on a lake.

Narcissus thought he fell in love with someone else that showed up in the lake, but once he was aware he was wrong, he passed away over the sorrow for loving someone that never existed (his own reflection).

Narcissism was first introduced in 1967 by Otto Friedmann Kernberg, a psychoanalyst from Vienna, Austria under the jargon “narcissistic personality mythological structure.” Thus, in the following year, Heinz Kohut, another Austrian psychoanalyst proposed the term “narcissistic personality disorder” which remains the same until today.

What’s considered as a Narcissistic Behavior?

Being a personality disorder, NPD is characterized by narcissistic behavior, such as excessive self-admiration, egoism, or less empathy. People with the condition are very ambitious in achieving success, power, or perfect appearance most of the time. Sadly, in reaching their goals, they often use the others around them. Narcissistic behavior usually starts to happen when one grows into a young adult.

Based on the DSM-5 (a diagnosis method for NPD), an individual with the personality disorder is indicated by the following behaviors:

  • An exaggerated sense of pride.
  • Obsession of daydreams on the infinite power, beauty, success, perfect love, and brilliance.
  • Overrated confidence for being special and that one can only be accepted by the other special people or associations.
  • A necessity for excessive self-admiration.
  • A sense that one deserves special treatments and obedience from the others.
  • A tendency to take advantage of the others in reaching one’s goals.
  • Absence of empathy.
  • The envious feeling of certain people.
  • Arrogance or haughtiness.

Also, according to the diagnosis of DSM-5, a person with NPD can be more irritated when receiving criticism from others or when defeated by his/her biggest rivals. However, despite their excessive self-pride, a narcissist can also withdraw himself from society and show fake humbleness to seek more attention from the other people around. So, it is important to raise your awareness of the condition.

A Narcissist in the Making: The Causes

Speaking of the causes, I’m afraid I have to say that what makes the personality disorder to happen is not yet fully understood. The experts can only tell us that genetic and environment factors could play a big role in developing the condition.

According to a study by Arnold Cooper and Leonard Groopman—professional psychiatrists from New York, The US, the following factors may be responsible for the development of the rare personality disorder:

  • An overly sensitive temper as a birth trait.
  • Overrated praises for good deeds or—on the other hand—exaggerated criticism for bad deeds in childhood.
  • The imbalanced ratio between admiration and feedback from parents to their children.
  • Getting spoilt by parents and other family members.
  • Praises for physical appearance or abilities by the adults.
  • Getting verbally and emotionally abused as a child.
  • Lacking care or attention from parents.
  • Observing manipulative manners by parents or peers.

How to Deal with Them

Despite the fact that NPD is a rare psychological condition—being fewer than 150,000 cases per year in Indonesia, it can also be treated and dealt with. However, please note that the condition is incurable, so high expectation on narcissism to be healed is a mistake.

Treating a narcissist can be very challenging as the condition cause them to be more irritated and defensive. Thus, that makes it even harder to understand their underlying problems. Therefore, it is much recommended to get help from the experts, such as psychotherapy to help the patients show more empathy to others.

Meanwhile, if you happen to have a family member, a friend, or even a partner who has the tendency of being a narcissist, there is a little hint to find out how to deal with the condition—or whether you should get help or even just leave them alone.

A narcissist usually loves to play the emotional “hot potato” game. When you complain about anything that your partner is lacking in the relationship or demand them to do their responsibilities, they will automatically withdraw themselves and attack. Trust me; you’ll eventually get blamed again. It is actually a narcissist’s goal, to make people around them feel guilty even for his/her own mistakes.

Speaking of which, based on many studies, hiding an irritated heart and pride is apparently also one of the narcissistic hallmarks. This is a part of the “hot potato” game they play with you. Sadly, if this happens too often, you are officially in a toxic relationship. If you can talk about it with your partner well, it is good. However, if you need help, get one. As a reminder, a toxic relationship can turn into an abusive one in no time.

So, now that you know that taking selfies is not the only narcissistic behavior ever exists. It is time to be aware and take care.