Module Two: What Does Self-Confidence Mean To You?

Self-confidence plays an important role in our everyday lives. Being confident allows us to set and reach our goals. It provides stability when we are faced with a challenge; it gives us that push that helps us overcome difficulties. Self-confidence is necessary for our personal and professional lives, as without it one would not be successful in either. It gives us the ability to stand up to face our challenges and to pick ourselves up when we fall.

 

What is Assertiveness?

An assertive person is confident and direct in dealing with others. Assertive communications promote fairness and equality in human interactions, based on a positive sense of respect for self and others. It is the direct communication of a person’s needs, wants, and opinions without punishing, threatening, or putting down another person.

Assertive behaviour includes the ability to stand up for a person’s legitimate rights – without violating the rights of others or being overly fearful in the process. A skill that can be learned, assertive behaviour is situational specific; meaning different types of assertive behaviour can be used in different situations.

Assertive behaviour involves three categories of skills; self-affirmation, expressing positive feelings, and expressing negative feelings. Each will be explored during this course.

 

What is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is a belief in oneself, one’s abilities, or one’s judgment. It is freedom from doubt. When you believe you can change things — or make a difference in a situation, you are much more likely to succeed.

As a self-confident person, you walk with a bounce in your step. You can control your thoughts and emotions and influence others. You are more prepared to tackle everyday challenges and recover from setbacks. This all leads to a greater degree of optimism and life satisfaction.

 

The Four Styles

There are four styles of communication: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.

The Passive Person

Passive behaviour is the avoidance of the expression of opinions or feelings, protecting one’s rights, and identifying and meeting one’s needs. Passive individuals exhibit poor eye contact and slumped body posture, and tend to speak softly or apologetically. Passive people express statements implying that:

  • “I’m unable to stand up for my rights.”
  • “I don’t know what my rights are.”
  • “I get stepped on by everyone.”
  • “I’m weak and unable to take care of myself.”
  • “People never consider my feelings.”

The Aggressive Person

An aggressive individual communicates in a way that violates the rights of others. Thus, aggressive communicators are verbally or physically abusive, or both. Aggressive communication is born of low self-esteem, often caused by past physical or emotional abuse, unhealed emotional wounds, and feelings of powerlessness.

Aggressive individuals display a low tolerance for frustration, use humiliation, interrupt frequently, and use criticism or blame to attack others. They use piercing eye contact and are not good listeners. Aggressive people express statements implying that:

  • The other person is inferior, wrong, and not worth anything
  • The problem is the other person’s fault
  • They are superior and right
  • They will get their way regardless of the consequences
  • They are entitled, and that the other person “owes” them.

The Passive-Aggressive Person

The passive-aggressive person uses a communication style in which the individual appears passive on the surface but is really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind-the-scenes way.

Passive-aggressive people usually feel powerless, stuck, and resentful. Alienated from others, they feel incapable of dealing directly with the object of their resentments. Rather, they express their anger by subtly undermining the real or imagined object of their resentments. Frequently they mutter to themselves instead of confronting another person. They often smile at you, even though they are angry, use subtle sabotage, or speak with sarcasm.

Passive-aggressive individuals use communication that implies:

  • “I’m weak and resentful, so I sabotage, frustrate, and disrupt.”
  • “I’m powerless to deal with your head on so I must use guerilla warfare.”
  • “I will appear cooperative, but I’m not.”

The Assertive Person

An assertive individual communicates in a way that clearly states his or her opinions and feelings, and firmly advocates for his or her rights and needs without violating the rights of others. Assertive communication is born of high self-esteem. Assertive people value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. They are strong advocates for themselves — while being very respectful of the rights of others.

Assertive people feel connected to other people. They make statements of needs and feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully. Feeling in control of themselves, they speak in calm and clear tones, are good listeners, and maintain good eye contact. They create a respectful environment for others and do not allow others to abuse or manipulate them.

The assertive person uses statements that imply:

  • “I am confident about who I am.”
  • “I cannot control others, but I control myself.”
  • “I speak clearly, honestly, and to the point.”
  • “I know I have choices in my life, and I consider my options. I am fully responsible for my own happiness.”
  • “We are equally entitled to express ourselves respectfully to one another.”