Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself, your rights and your needs in a way that does not seek to dominate others. Sometimes those with low self-confidence may find it difficult to be assertive, whether this is in the context of exercising their rights or in asserting their thoughts and feelings about a particular issue.
Lack of self-confidence affects a person’s coping strategies and ability to work their way through problems. Those who are not confident often do not develop the ability to deal with stressors effectively and then this lack of coping reinforces their lack of confidence leading to a downward spiral that is often accompanied by low self esteem.
Understanding Self-confidence
and assertiveness

Self-confidence and assertiveness is the key to identity formation. If as a person one does not feel that they can resist the pressure of other more dominant people it can be difficult to feel that they have the right to formulate their own views and come to their own conclusions.
Remember that being assertive is not just about dealing with the negative and problematic aspects of our lives. It is also about being able to acknowledge our strengths and to recognise when we have done something well.

Self Respect

Having a sense of self respect is one of the corner-stones of assertiveness. Often our experiences can lead us to have a diminished level of self-respect which is further diminished by our tendancy to compare ourselves with others, attempting to live up to their expectations, and negating our own strengths.
However, each one of us is unique. Each one of us is different, but equal. Our most helpful option is to accept ourselves for what we are as individuals in our own right and not in comparison to others. Having strong self respect is not believing that we are perfect, but simply accepting ourselves for who we are.

What to do?

On the face of it developing assertiveness and enhancing confidence should be easy, however when you tie in identity, self-respect and self esteem it becomes more complex. A further layer of complexiety is added when you consider your individual experiences, your history, your current circumstances and all the cycles in your life that maintain the sense of powerlessness that is non-assertiveness and low confidence.

CBT at Cork Cognitive Therapy provides an individually based structured programme that relies on evidence based practice of what works. This programme is extended into your life outside of therapy and involves graduated cognitive and behavioural work that will provide a scaffold for your learning.