The difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness is vast. But it is so very easy for any of us to swing towards aggression in the name of assertion. It can be corrected by simple visualization techniques and some persistence.
There is a difference between saying a straightforward, matter-of-fact ‘Shut Up’ and a frowning, snarling ‘SHUT UP!’
When clients come to improve their communication skills, one of the common mistakes they make is quickly moving from being non-communicative to being aggressive and rude in their expression. This is especially so when the clients had allowed their communication and expression to be suppressed earlier.
The reason behind this is that when we suppress ourselves from voicing out thoughts and opinions, we also tend to keep mum when others take advantage of our silence. Often, we get angry at this intrusion yet we remain silent. Also, in such cases, we notice others underestimate and dismiss us easily. Non-communicative people are easily misunderstood to be ‘soft and spineless”.
All of this produces a desire in us to be more assertive and at the same time we also pile up of lot of indignation. And when we begin to be expressive, we bring out a combination of voice and indignation from the past. This is a mistake because it will cause tensions and strain our relationships with our family, friends, and colleagues. So how do we prevent or correct this.
Understand that you receive from the world what you put out in the way of your thoughts, expectations, and body language. Your subconscious has a way of proving your beliefs true. So what needs to be done in this case is a correction of your beliefs. This can be achieved by simple visualization.
When a person decides to be assertive, he still continues to believe the world will take advantage of him and he must stop it by being assertive. This will cause him to become aggressive, because he is approaching communication through confrontation. This person will carry visualizations or expectations of scenes like the colleague talking him down and he reacting aggressively to put the colleague down. Or he may imagine his family taking advantage of his inability to say no and he then replying rudely to it.
The solution is to change that visualization. Simply visualize yourself in situations where you are able to communicate your views and ideas as well as the world behaving well with you. Remember, in your mind, you can not only change yourself but your world around as well. So change that sarcastic colleague to someone who is friendly and nice. Initially, your old beliefs would quickly come back and tell you others will take advantage of your silence. Replace it immediately with a positive visualization. Do it again and again. Just after a few times, you will start noticing the difference. Your subconscious starts creating a different reality for you that is much nicer and happier. It will stop putting out body language of defence or offence. It will make you appear assertive but not aggressive. You will also find people around have changed in their approach towards you.
There is a difference between saying a straightforward, matter-of-fact ‘Shut Up’ and a frowning, snarling ‘SHUT UP!’ Learn to state the former. Change your world through positive visualization. Become assertive. You are!