zandax online course logo
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login

How Being Assertive and Having a Positive and Healthy Self-image are Linked

From the ZandaX Assertiveness Blog

Articles to help you be assertive and self confident

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Development Blog  >  Assertiveness Articles  > 
How Being Assertive and Having a Positive and Healthy Self-image are Linked

How Being Assertive and Having a Positive and Healthy Self-image are Linked

A post from our Assertiveness blog

      Written by Riley Mitchell
We're going to walk through a bit of a chicken-or-egg scenario. The chicken being assertiveness, the egg; self-image.

Self-image is the way that we view ourselves, which may or may not be the same as how we're seen by others. It might include the way we think we look, how we think we come across in social situations and how much status we believe we hold in society.

Then there's self-esteem, which is how we feel about ourselves; be that positive or negative. Subtly different, yet undoubtedly intertwined.

We can all be prone to bouts of self-criticism from time to time, just as we can be critical of others. And self-reflection is a valuable tool in helping us navigate the tricky dynamics of relationships. Sometimes, though, self-deprecation can fester - spiralling out of control until it turns into a prolonged issue of low self-esteem. At this point it can really start to hinder our relationships and the opportunities we receive, because the way that we feel about ourselves has a tendency to impact our actions and abilities, day-to-day.

Having a healthy self-image is, without a doubt, linked with higher levels of assertiveness. Whilst tipping the scale a little too much off-centre can open us up to passive or aggressive tendencies. Neither of which are desirable from an outside perspective. So in order to unpick the link further, let's first take a look at how behaving passively can lead us down the path to low self-esteem and, by reverse, how assertive behaviors foster a more positive self-image.

Want to Be More Assertive?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $59 – limited time offer just $12.00

The influence of passive behavior on self-esteem

Passive behavior can be characterized as a quietness - a failure to advocate for ourselves and our belief systems. Everyday examples of passiveness might be failing to ask for a well-deserved pay rise, allowing a partner to take advantage of us and -- this is a common one - saying ‘Yes' to absolutely everything, regardless of whether or not we actually want to do it. How many of us have signed up for things that we'd rather not do, or taken on tasks that we don't feel we're capable of juggling, just so as not to put anyone's nose out of joint?

We're going to take a look at the most common traits of passive behavior and demonstrate the knock-on effect that these have on self-image:

●      We're afraid to speak up - the knock-on effect: others don't feel that we've anything valuable to contribute - and we feel unheard and undervalued.

●      We go along with others' opinions despite whether they contradict with our own - others feel that we're indecisive and incompetent - and we feel we have no value to add by voicing our own opinions.

●      We value the feelings of others' more than we value our own - other people see us as a pushover - we feel unworthy and begin to feel resentful.

●      We fail to reach, or set, goals - we appear unmotivated and incapable - we feel so demotivated that we begin to doubt what our ultimate motivations are.

Broken down like this, it's easy to see how passive behavior can rapidly become a slippery slope to lost confidence. And it's also easy to see how much of a challenge this mindset presents, in terms of affecting positive change on a situation. Once we're at the point of believing that we've little to bring to the table, or that we're totally lost in terms of our long-term goals, we're so lacking in self-esteem that we're almost incapable of pulling ourselves out of the hole. Almost, but certainly not irrectifiably . Let's now do the same thing for assertiveness.

The impact of assertive behavior on self-image

Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons characterize assertiveness as an ability to "act in our own best interests, to stand up for ourselves without undue anxiety, to exercise personal rights without denying the rights of others, and to express our feelings honestly and comfortably" [1].

What this might look like in everyday context -- and the associated effect on our self-esteem -- is as follows:

●      We express ourselves with confidence and respectfully acknowledge the opinions of others - our confidence is interpreted positively and we make others feel respected - we feel worthy of the viewpoints we hold.

●      We are excellent listeners - others feel heard and become more receptive to our opinions by way of return - we are able to build strong relationships and we feel appreciated.

●      We place as much value on others as we do ourselves - mutual respect is established - we feel valued and respected.

●      We set realistic goals and have clear direction - we're seen to be driven and capable - we feel motivated and we're more likely to stick to our goals.

Not only does acting assertively develop mutual respect, this positive reinforcement breeds self-confidence and improves our chances of fulfilling our goals. When we're setting and hitting our own personal targets and seeing our relationships thrive along with it, we are nurturing a healthy self-image.

It's a fine balancing act though. When self-esteem is at a healthy level we feel valuable to society, worthy of the respect of others and, so, confident and assertive. Not enough self-esteem, as we've seen, tends to turn us inward; meaning we struggle to find our voice, feel undervalued and lack in self-belief/confidence -- here we start to demonstrate passive behaviors.

At the other end of the scale, having self-esteem that's a little too high can lead to feelings of superiority and an over-confidence which renders us neglectful of the feelings of others. Here's where there might be a tendency towards traits of aggression. So finding equilibrium is really important.

Is there evidence that higher assertiveness leads to positive self-image?

There have been numerous studies into the link between assertiveness and self-image. Ibrahim, S.A. (2011) found that nursing students with a greater level of assertiveness scored higher on measures of "psychological empowerment" -- which included competence, sense of meaning, self determination and impact. And similar research on new mothers suggested that higher levels of assertiveness reduced the risk of developing postpartum depression (Skowron et al. 2014) [2].

The jury's out on whether positive self-image is shaped by, or shapes, assertiveness. In fact, more than likely both have an equal bearing on each other, and without one it's very difficult to have the other. One thing that seems certain is that committing to developing assertiveness will, naturally, give our self-esteem the boost it needs to perpetuate further assertive behaviour. So the "Which came first?" question remains unanswered. Instead, think of it as an ouroboros -- an endless loop of one feeding into the other.

Want to Be More Assertive?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $59 – limited time offer just $12.00




[general ref]

[general ref]

Back to the Assertiveness blog

Click the button for more Assertiveness articles.

The ZandaX Personal Development blog

Click a panel for great articles on personal development

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
Leadership & Management
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2022
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?

Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?

Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management

Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback

Close menu element
Learn About:
Personal Development
Leadership & Management
Sales & Presentations
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel 2021 / 365
Introduction to Advanced (*NEW*)
Microsoft Excel VBA
Introduction & Intermediate
Microsoft Excel 2013 / 2016
Introduction to Professional
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft PowerPoint 365 (2021)
Ultimate all-in-one (*NEW*)
Microsoft PowerPoint 2019
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013/2016
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word 365 (2019)
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013/2016
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Access courses
Microsoft Access 365 (2019)
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Access 2013/2016
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook 365 (2019)
Ultimate all-in-one (*NEW*)
Microsoft Outlook 365 (2019)
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Outlook 2013/2016
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow courses on how to succeed in sales and presentations
Drive Your Sales to New Levels
Selling Skills course
Learn how to sell more, to more people
Deliver Presentations that Get Results
Presentation Skills course
Build and deliver great presentations
Your Keys to Success are here!
Sales Management course
Manage your team for great results
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this