Being the highly sensitive person that I am, I know it can be challenging to assert your needs and wants to others. Do you feel that you need to take an aggressive approach to accomplish this?
The good news is that you don’t have to be aggressive to get what you want. Assertive communication is expressing your point of view in a clear, concise, direct fashion. You can do with this with a strong and firm voice that is neither aggressive nor confrontational. Don’t raise your voice and maintain eye contact. It’s very important to make sure that your communication is clear. It should leave no doubt in the listener as to what you are saying and why you are saying it.
Aggressive communication is an entirely different animal. Instead of being a clear communication with a definite goal, it has a harsh tone that is sometimes personal, creating unnecessary conflict. Aggressive communicators are often poor listeners who take a “my way or the highway” approach. They are often accusatory in their tone and language and leave the receiver on the defensive. Aggressive communicators are too often focused on blame, criticism, and humiliation of others.
Assertive communicators, on the other hand, try to achieve a certain result or solve a particular problem in a diplomatic way. Aren’t highly sensitive people natural diplomats?
Based on the two types of communication styles, which one do you feel will most likely help you communicate your needs and be in alignment with your highly sensitive nature? This may seem like an obvious question, but sometimes we may feel that we need to match a hostile response, even though it goes against our grain. Stay true to yourself, regardless of how the other person responds!
To assert your needs without appearing aggressive, you can focus your comments more on how you feel rather than blaming the other person. Here are examples. You can begin with…”I feel strongly that we need to move in this direction because if we do, we can accomplish_____.” Other examples include…. “I don’t want to do this because I’m tired and I need my rest. Perhaps we can do something later.”… “I took some of your comments to heart. My feelings were hurt because______. I really value our friendship and hope that we can resolve this issue.”
Remember that a firm but positive tone and non-confrontational body language are crucial to getting your point across.
I understand that this isn’t an easy thing for anyone to do. Have patience with yourself, as it will take time for you to become more comfortable, but you will be well rewarded for your efforts. Others will respect you more, and more importantly, you’ll feel better about yourself and have more confidence in asking for what you want.
Do you have to be aggressive to be assertive? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.