Sunday, June 24, 2012

Confidence and Assertiveness: How are they different?

The words confidence and assertiveness are often thought to mean the same thing, and are used interchangeably. But the reality is although confidence and assertiveness can be complementary traits; on their own they are very different. 

The dictionary definition of the two words does not do much to help establish their differences. Assertiveness is defined as someone who behaves in a confident manner, while confidence is defined as having complete trust in yourself and your own knowledge and skills, or trusting something or someone else completely.

The main division between the two is interaction. Assertiveness can only occur if there is some form of interaction, as you need someone or something to assert yourself toward. However confidence can be in existence without any interaction, as you can have confidence in yourself. When confidence is present during communication it can often come across as being assertiveness. 

Self confidence often comes from a feeling of assurance that you are able to complete a task of some form. For example, if you are asked to give a speech on a given subject, and you know that subject well then you know you will be able to give a good and informative speech on it, so you will feel confident. Assertiveness demands interaction of some form as it relies on your being perceived as being assertive by others and cannot exist without that interpretation of your behaviours. You can usually be assertive if you have strong communication skills and self confidence.

It is important to understand the difference between these two traits, as well as how they are linked to each other. Assertiveness can only exist via confidence in a situation where there is communication, and without confidence in your self-worth, the necessary strong body language and behaviours will not come across, and therefore assertiveness will not be portrayed. On the other hand, confidence can exist all on its own, with or without communication, and most 
importantly you can be confident and feel self-worth without being assertive.

KEYS: confidence, assertiveness, personal development, self improvement, psychology

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