The difference between assertiveness and aggression can be confusing. Do you understand it?
There is a proper time and a place for both and unfortunately, some men and women just don’t get it. The brutal truth is that the statistics on domestic violence are staggering and disgusting.
This is not a diatribe against the culprits and the guilty. Violence is a human trait that’s not gender specific.
The fact of the matter is that the wrong kind of aggression is prevalent in too many homes and in too many relationships.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to abuse, contact your local authorities immediately or use the following links:
Speak up. Don’t be afraid. You could save someone’s life- or your own.
The Difference Between Assertiveness and Aggression
So what is the difference between assertiveness and aggression?
Aggression is typically pointed or directed at someone else or an external force.
An individual showing aggression to another can do so in a number of ways.
Be it physical, emotional, behavioral or verbal; their words and/or their actions inflict harm or hurt upon another person.
An aggressive individual uses threats and fighting as means of resolution.
Assertiveness requires an individual to focus within and take action (usually for the betterment themselves).
The assertive person invokes a different type of outcome via their behavior.
Assertiveness breeds action, change and constructive feedback.
An assertive individual will stand up for themselves to avoid being walked all over, bullied and disrespected.
They are both very similar however aggression results in the outcome of violence, force or pain being inflicted.
Assertiveness is having the confidence to take the lead.
Assertiveness and Aggression in Relationships
In relationships the assertive person does just that – they assert their beliefs, ideals and facts.
During conflict, they do not let their emotions get the best of them.
Aggressive people in relationships are the aggressors and are hostile or destructive in their actions.
They get hijacked by their emotions, which are now running the show.
See the difference?
It’s acceptable to stand up and respect yourself (while having respect for others).
That’s being assertive.
It’s completely unacceptable to resort to violence and destruction to resolve conflict or make a point- that’s aggression.
So, When Is Aggression OK?
In a perfect world it wouldn’t be. However there is no such thing as a perfect world.
And there truly are a few instances where aggression is warranted.
Certain sporting events (boxing, MMA, football, hockey, etc.) call for aggression needed to aid in a victory.
Perhaps some people like to rough each other up in a mosh pit at a music show (which they are all voluntarily taking a part of).
If someone were to threaten or attempt to harm you or your family then you would need to be aggressive and protect yourself and your loved ones.
You don’t simply stand there if you’re being attacked you defend yourself or take another course of action for it to cease.
Self-preservation is encoded in our biology for a reason, so we can survive.
However, we also have the ability to use logic and common sense.
Aggression has absolutely NO place in our personal relationships. Period.
When to Be Assertive
The right time for assertiveness is when your rights are being hindered in some way.
We all deserve the same amount of respect from each other but sometimes that is just not the case and you have to stand up for yourself.
More and more people would benefit by forming stronger personal boundaries and being clear about how we feel with someone else.
By reducing and removing the difficult emotions (or pain) from arguments and debates it allows us to do a few things:
- BE CLEAR ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM
- FOCUS ON THE FACTS
- RELAY YOUR GOALS, NEEDS, AND IDEAS
This works wonders in creating and opening the proper lines healthy communication.
The bottom line is to exercise the right type of assertiveness when it comes to conflict and stay clear of being aggressive.
Be calm. Know when to be assertive and know when to walk away.
You gain respect for yourself from behaving in the right manner and the respect of others.
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