Assertiveness is a social skill as is eye contact, body language, and listening. Social skills are behaviours that help us experience pleasure in social situations. In other words, if a social situation did not feel good, then it is likely because you were not using social skills. And, because it didn’t feel good, you’re likely to not repeat them. Human beings are “social creatures” and by nature derive pleasure from social interactions. If we’re having few social interactions then we’re deny ourselves a huge source of pleasure and satisfaction.
When we’re not assertive there’s no way for others to know what we want or how we’re feeling. This often leads to being misunderstood or treated in ways we don’t like. But we can’t blame others. They can’t read our minds, and we shouldn’t expect them to know how we’re feeling or what we want.
The goal of assertiveness is to inform others and ultimately be understood. When others are informed we stand a better chance of being treated the way we like. When we’re not being assertive, we leave it up to others to treat us the way they want – which may not live up to our expectations.
A lack of assertiveness can be caused by many factors. We may never have learned how to be assertive. We may have learned that it’s wrong. We may have forgotten. However, what matters most is that with any skill, with practice we can learn it and master it.