EQ: Assertiveness, pt. 1

My assertiveness score was the lowest of the 15, coming in at a solid 63 (it appears the highest 140). The goal for all of these attributes, by the way, is to be somewhere in the middle, to hit some kind of balance with all of them. Because too assertive and you get into the aggressive lane. This is currently the furthest thing from a concern I have.

According to my assessment, assertiveness is “…a place where you work with others by finding the right words at the right time to express your feelings and thoughts.” According to The EQ Edge, assertiveness is “…the ability to communicate clearly, specifically and unambiguously, while at the same time being sensitive to the needs of others and their responses in a particular encounter” (75). (Was anyone else bothered by the lack of an oxford comma)?

So basically if I’m assertive, I can tell you what I need or want without being a dick about it.

To be assertive I’d need to be able to express my feelings, express my thought and beliefs, and stand up for myself. Very funny Steven J. Stein.

I laugh because I’m extremely passive. The book talks about two main reasons people tend to be passive: they are scared to embarrass themselves or they are scared to hurt others. I fall into both categories.

Many a therapist (and I have had five now) have told me that I need to assert myself. My mom tells me that too. My response to them is always that I worry about coming off as aggressive when I do that. So the easiest thing is just not to do it. DUH.

Ok, but really, I think my assertiveness score it what really brought the tears up during my training. I mean when people tell you for years that you need to be more assertive, and you think somehow magically it’s been happening, and then you see the most abismal score in the world, and you’re already all about scoring well on tests, it’s just not a recipe for rainbows and smiles.

Also my assertiveness has always been a huge issue in my personal relationships – friends, family, partners. An though it has also affected my work, my personal connections are much much much more important to me.

In the most exciting turn of events (…one can imagine from reading a self-help/personal development book), The EQ Edge talks a lot about self-talk, listening to self talk, and analyzing the beliefs that drive your self talk (LIMITING BELIEFS ANYONE?!)(FULL CIRCLE ANYONE)(Is it grammatically legal to have a row of parenthetical phrases like this)(Yes, grammatically legal as in will the grammar police come arrest me when I do eventually post this)?

My mission: over the next two week I will analyze situations in which I behave passively or aggressively (LOL) or assertively (LOLx2). In doing this I will gain insight to my behavior, my triggers (suck it), and any underlying beliefs I have around this behavior.

The hope is that in two weeks I will prove to myself that acting assertively is good not NAUSEATINGLY HORRIFYING, and also see a decline in my passive behavior and an increase in my assertive behavior without becoming aggressive.

In next week’s episode of Tammy Grows Up, I will share with you why I’m not actually all the worried about being aggressive and update you on week one progress. Don’t hold your breath! A week is a long time.


My sources include The EQ Edge by Steven J. Stein, Ph.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D. as well as my Emotional Intelligence report by Multi-Health Systems. DON’T SUE ME.


3 thoughts on “EQ: Assertiveness, pt. 1”

  1. I can really relate to this. Assertiveness was something I struggled with a lot (and still do sometimes), fluctuating between being an asshole or being way too passive. But it’s awesome how, once you start being more assertive, even in the smallest of ways, your all around confidence seems to skyrocket. It’s as if asserting yourself in a respectful way reaffirms your self-worth. Good luck on your journey!

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