Assertiveness is summed up as, "Stand up for yourself without upsetting anybody else!"

Assertiveness is when you stand up for your feelings, beliefs, desires and needs and declare them in an honest way that does not violate respect for others.

Assertiveness is a form of respect for others. If you encourage people to harm you by saying nothing against it to them then that is not respect.

Assertiveness is an important skill. It would be expected of everybody in the workplace and everybody in a relationship.

To refuse requests assertively simply say something like, "No I don't want to"/"I prefer not to". Do not say sorry. If you don't want to do it why would you be sorry? Why are you suggesting that you are somehow bad for doing what you want and not what another wants? Do not insult the other person by implying they were asking you to do what you didn't want to do. That is what sorry says. It also says you are bad for not wanting to do it. Try and use constructive assertiveness as much as you can. That entails making an offer to the person to help them. But it must be some kind of help that you want to give. For example, if you refuse to do a weeks work for someone you can offer to ask a friend if they could do it.

You don't have to give an explanation and sometimes an explanation can sound like an excuse.

Keep away from, "I should not". Don't say it. Don't think it for that is worse than saying it. You are your own God for God supposedly does good without being commanded to. There is nothing to tell you what you should do, or what you should not do, so there is no need for any other God.  Say, "I could."  Say, "I want to."  True goodness happens not because something is commanded but because you are attracted to it.  You are not your own God as in self-commander.  You are your own God as spontaneously good.

Do not try to force yourself to do anything. Do you drink too much? Do not say, "I will stop drinking." You are saying you will stop whether you intend to or not. You are saying you can force the future to arrange it so that you will not drink. But you cannot control the future. Say, "I allow myself to try and stop." That respects and honours yourself and your freedom. It is not up to God to allow you. That does nothing for you. You have to do it yourself simply because nobody else can do it for you. Remember the power of simply saying, “I allow myself …”

To express disagreement with another person say, "No, I don't agree with that". Don't attack another person's ideas by saying anything along the lines of "That would be no good" or "That will not work". Say something like, "You think we should do y. Do you think there would be a difficulty there such as etc?"

A REPLY: An online source about Stephen Brier's book, Psychobabble: Exploding the Myths of the Self-Help Generation goes,

"Assertive behaviour is the gold standard of communication, promising to teach us how to establish a platform of mutual respect from which we can stand up for ourselves and get our voices heard, without ever needing to resort to aggression. But do the theory and practice of assertiveness really match up?

For a start, it turns out you can indeed have too much of a supposedly good thing. Daniel Ames and Francis Flynn discovered a “Goldilocks algorithm” operating in the workplaces they studied. Employees regarded too much assertiveness as just as problematic as too little.

When you examine assertiveness techniques themselves, it soon becomes apparent that assertiveness is a game in which you subtly aim to disenfranchise your opponent. I might use “fogging”, whereby I strategically align myself with some part of what you are saying in order to lever my own agenda. Or “negative assertion”, whereby I appear to take on board your criticism but in the very same breath press forward with my own demands.

I would dare to suggest that this is Machiavellian to the core. It’s chess, not conversation, and we should be under no illusions that the goal is not to wrestle the other person into submission. How can we ever have a genuinely respectful interaction with someone we are attempting to manipulate? Most books on assertiveness are ultimately manuals on how to gain the upper hand. They have a place but let’s not fool ourselves: passive aggression is aggression nonetheless."


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