We live in a society where people confuse assertiveness and aggressiveness when pursuing what we want in life. Judy Murphy's book, Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others, does much to clear up that misconception in a straightforward, concise manner.
Assertiveness is attaining a balance between considering your own wants, needs, and goals with the wants, needs, and goals of other people. Aggressive people act in self-serving ways that lack respect for others; passive people act in ways that show no respect for themselves. Using a list of principles called the Bill of Rights of Assertiveness, Ms. Murphy guides readers to understand how they think about themselves, how they communicate, and how others perceive them can impede acting assertively and getting the respect they deserve.
The book provides useful examples of passive, aggressive, and assertive behavior in a variety of settings, and then follows up with helpful exercises and suggestions for the reader to practice being assertive in those settings as well. Especially strong and true-to-life examples are given in the section on assertiveness in personal relationships, covering such topics as miscommunication between significant others and parent-child challenges. Another interesting section addresses how to raise assertive children, which is such an important issue given the widespread bullying problems in schools and neighborhoods.
The major concept of the entire book is that behaving with respect toward others and toward oneself will go a long way in assuring that one will be respected by others. Constructive assertiveness can also reduce stress, increase honest relationships with others, and benefit health. This book is a handy guide to improving one's life through being more assertive that will be read more than once by many of its readers.