What we commonly call self-confidence is technically called assertiveness.
What is self-confidence for? For manage stress. One has, from birth, a temperament, it is what we bring genetically. That temperament is changing, it is modulating.
With what? With life experiences. Then, one over the years modulates that temperament and ends up having a personality. Some people are safer than others. Yes it’s correct. However, it is also true that You can learn to have assertive behaviors.
Let’s take a very everyday situation as an example: you go to a restaurant, they bring you a glass, they are going to serve you something and you see that the glass is dirty. What are you doing? Does he not say anything to the waiter or does he get extremely angry? Or he says, “Excuse me, I think the glass is dirty by mistake. Would you be so kind as to change it?
What behavior do you have? Because those are assertive behaviors, asking for a change of the glass. In general, human beings have three types of behaviors, passive behavior, assertive behavior and aggressive behavior.
In the same circumstance, you can choose. Passive behavior is being shy, withdrawn, skittish. The opposite, remember the cup, be aggressive, violent, hostile. Not good.
Instead,What does it mean to have assertive behavior? It is being aware of your rights and raising it well, with education.
Let us remember that stress is closely linked to the perception of the context that surrounds us. Perception is not seeing reality. In stress medicine, when we work with stressed patients, something very common these days, it has a lot to do with reality. But I tell you something: for us reality does not exist.
Reality is the facts interpreted from our own psychic processes. What is stressful for Juan is not for Pedro. Why? Because everyone makes their own assessment of reality. It is very common for people to see ghosts where there are none. I mean this has to do with subjectivity in life.
So a lot depends on the personality. What is personality? The personality is our behavior stable over time, that is to say, what characterizes us longitudinally, what makes one be that way. It is our way of being.
And in our personal ways and our temperament it is important to take into account the way we communicate: without extreme passivity or aggressiveness. Emotional intelligence is deployed in seeking the midpoint.
This behavior is learned, developed, practiced. Expressing yourself with respect towards the other and towards oneself is being assertive. Assertive communication allows you to transmit a message in a clear and respectful way, without falling into passivity or aggressiveness. Learning to say “no” assertively improves our interpersonal ties and reduces our stress level.
To conclude, I remove a well-known phrase that serves to round off the topic, “Politeness, does not remove the brave”.
* Dr. Daniel López Rosetti is a physician (MN 62540) from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). President of the Stress Section of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). And he is the author of books such as: “Emotion and feelings” (Ed. Planeta, 2017), “Equilibrio. How we think, how we feel, how we decide. User’s manual.” (Ed. Planeta, 2019), among others.