It is not uncommon to come across information about how to be assertive, and this surely shows how much of a challenge this is for so many people. If someone was to read a book on this subject, it could be for one of two reasons.

Two Experiences

On the one hand, it could be a sign that they find it hard to stand up for themselves, meaning they are used to being walked over. Naturally, this is going to cause them to experience a lot of pain, pain that could be avoided.

On the other hand, it could show that they find it hard to express who they are, and this is going to mean that they are in a far worse position. Unlike the scenario above, this person will rarely reveal who they are.

A Big Difference

Taking all this into account, someone will express who they are but they will find it hard to stand their ground from time to time, or they won’t be able to express who they are and being taken advantage of could be the norm. If one can relate to the former, they could believe that their life couldn’t get any worse.

Here, one will be focused on what is going wrong in their life and overlooking what is going right. When it comes to the latter, they could also have the same outlook, and there is no doubt that they are worse off.

For Example

If someone is looking into how to become more assertive, it could show that they need to stop people from walking over them at work. Perhaps they hold a position of power and need to change their behaviour.

On the minus side, they will have a problem with saying no and pushing back, but on the plus side, they will have a good job. However, if someone has trouble with revealing who they are to others, just about every part of their life might not be going as they would like it to.

Black and White

Due to this, it could be said that there is no grey here; there is only going to be one reason why someone would want to be become more assertive or to assert themselves in general. The trouble with this view is that someone can look for advice on how to be more assertive even if they are out of touch with their true-self.

Along with this view, someone can have a ‘good’ job even if they are out of touch with themselves. They can then appear to have it all, but they can still hide who they are and this will give them the desire to let go off the mask that they wear.

Level of Awareness

This shows that someone’s level of awareness will dictate what kind of support that they reach out for. If one is out of touch with who they are but they don’t realise this, learning how to say no, for instance, might be enough.

Yet, if they are in touch themselves and realise that they rarely, if ever, express themselves, they will know that they need more than this. Changing a few things is not going to cut it; they will need to do far more.


When someone is in touch with their needs and feelings and they allow this information to define their life, they will be able to live a life that is worth living. They won’t need to please others and to neglect themselves in the process.

What this will show is that they value themselves and that they feel safe enough to be able to express who they are. If one of these components is not in place, it will be a challenge for someone to assert themselves.

One Experience

If one finds it hard to say no from time to time but they can express who they are, it could show that this is what feels safe. So, during the moments when they don’t stand up for themselves, they could experience fear.

Deep down, they may believe that if they don’t behave in this way it could cause them to be rejected and/or harmed. This could have been what took place if they asserted themselves as a child.

Another Experience

If one completely hides who they are and this causes them to play a role for most of the time, this is also likely to be what feels safe. It is then going to be far too dangerous for them to reveal who they are.

Revealing who they are could be seen as something that would cause them to be abandoned and/or annihilated. Expressing themselves as a child wouldn’t have been an option.

Early Years

Therefore, if someone finds it hard to assert themselves, they may have been abused and/or neglected when they were younger. This would have stopped them from getting the love, care and nurturance that they needed to develop in the right way.

One could look back and find that they were not physically abused, but they may find that they have had a caregiver who was very smothering. This would have stopped them from being able to explore and to assert their own will as a child.


A caregiver’s own fear of being abandoned may have caused them to be a ‘helicopter parent’, thereby stopping their child from gradually being able to grow into an interdependent human being and to individuate. If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they might need to reach out for external support.

This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.

Author's Bio: 

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand seven hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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