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Published:August 23rd, 2009 10:37 EST
Assertiveness: Physiological Aspects of Being a Human

Assertiveness: Physiological Aspects of Being a Human

By Roya Rohani Rad, MA, PsyD

When it comes to the physiological aspects of being a human, the body`s immune system and how it functions; how its cells let in friendly cells, and they defend themselves against the enemy, how they fight disease-causing bacteria. When one pays attention, one can`t help but notice that the immune system`s function is similar to the concept of assertiveness in human psychology.

We say that a balanced human being attracts what is beneficial and resists what is harmful, or at least should learn to do so. When it comes to psychological  aspect of being  human, assertiveness is function of the psycho`s immune system.  It is a balanced form between aggressiveness and passiveness.

An aggressive person may drive away many constructive elements and a passive person may be a magnet for many harmful ones. But someone who learns to be assertive becomes skilled at knowing what to drive toward and what to drive away. This helps the person in not having to exploit too much time undoing damages caused by attracting what is wrong for her.  

A person who wants to experience her true self, a person who wants to get rid of all deception, and one who wants to be liberated, actualized, determined, and discover herself must learn to respect and express her inner core. For a person to do that, she must learn her boundaries, clarify them, and communicate them.  Assertiveness is a tool for doing that.  Only then the person would be able to functions from a  less damaged inner core and is able to respect other people`s boundaries.

There are basically three types of behavioral patterns that people use to relate to each other: Aggressive, passive, and assertive. Aggression is related to dominance, wanting to take advantage of others, and crossing other people`s boundaries. 

Aggressiveness is when one expresses her rights at the expense, deprivation, or embarrassment of another. Aggression  can become emotionally or physically vigorous, not allowing the other person`s rights to surface. Aggression comes in two forms, passive aggression and active one.

Passivity is submission to, and being invaded and devalued by others. Passivity happens when a person submits to another`s dominance behavior, putting her own wishes and needs aside to pay attention to fulfilling the wishes and desires of the dominant partner. This, however, is not out of willingness and love; it is out of fear and resentment.

Assertiveness is the balanced form of the above two. Assertiveness is the ability for self-expression in healthy  ways, without violating the rights of others and crossing their boundaries. Assertiveness is a straight, open, and sincere  communication, which helps the individual feel a sense of self-enhancement, self-expression, and self-confidence.

It also helps one to receive and give more respect. Expressing one`s thoughts and feelings in a way that clearly communicates  the person`s needs and intentions is a great way for a person to experience her true self. In order to be able to get assertive, we must value ourselves. Being assertive is different than being selfish. Acting in selfish ways means that one  is violating the rights of others, which are destructive and aggressive acts instead of constructive and assertive ones.