There will be times when you have to speak up for yourself and others. Avoiding conflict is unrealistic; it leads to resentment, bitterness and passive aggressive behaviour. This can cause a tremendous amount of undue stress, anxiety and interpersonal discomfort.

Assertiveness is being able to express yourself with confidence and certainty to protect your rights, boundaries and opinions in a way that also respects the dignity and rights of others. By doing this you have the ability to enhance relationships and build self-esteem.

The next time you are unfairly treated, disrespected or have your boundaries violated, try to calmly let the other person know how you feel. Example: “I feel upset when…”, “I would prefer that…”, “Would you please…”


  • Do start with situations that are easy.
  • Don’t expect instant success.
  • Do express your position or opinion respectfully.
  • Don’t expect to be anxiety or guilt free, and don’t beat yourself up if you do feel anxiety or guilt.
  • Do expect others to initially be surprised.
  • Don’t expect others to necessarily agree.
  • Do try again… Practice makes perfect!

By practicing assertiveness you can demonstrate self-respect while respecting the rights and needs of others. This ability allows you to express yourself without hurting other peoples’ feelings, being disrespectful or being dishonest.

Want more mental fitness minutes? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!