No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt

There is a close relationship between self-esteem and assertive behaviour. If the two pillars of self-esteem - I believe I am competent and I believe I am worthy - are in place of our thinking, then assertive behaviour is possible.

When individuals have a very low opinion of their worth as human beings, it will be difficult for them to take on personal rights to assert themselves.

For example, if I do not believe I am worthwhile, how can I take on the right to be treated with respect? As people start to believe that they have rights, their self-esteem improves. As the belief in their rights improves their self-esteem, they start to behave assertively. As they behave assertively in more situations, so their self-esteem continues to improve.

Assertion is a vital communication skill that allows us to take responsibility for communicating with ourselves and others in an authentic, clear, open and concise manner. This vehicle ensures that we live as valuable and worthwhile individuals who are able to communicate what we are thinking, feeling and needing.

Assertion is a learnt skill. If we know it is a skill, then we can make a commitment to learn a way forward that keeps everybody's self-esteem in tact.

When is assertion used?

Assertion is used at all times with ourselves and with others, for example walking into a room and greeting people; ensuringthat we stay committed to a goal; stating an opinion; giving constructivecriticism; having our needs met; and resolving conflict with others. Assertionsets out to face an issue, to clarify it, and to move to a solution in which no one is compromised.