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The difference between passive and assertive

Continuing through the Assertiveness chapter in How to Be an Adult
(feel free to download and follow along!)

I found the description of Passivity alongside the Basic Rights of the
Assertive Person to be really helpful in analyzing my own behavior.

A few examples:

“Passivity is refusing to express feelings, act, or decide because of what
*might* happen to you.”

How many times have I swallowed my words or felt paralyzed out of fear that
something bad *might* happen?

Instead, repeat this as a mantra: “I have the right to ask for 100% of
what I want from 100% of the people in my life, 100% of the time.”

You can clearly speak up for yourself, and be open to finding common ground
in the space you create by speaking up. No more regrets, wishing you had
said more or stood up for yourself.

Another example:

“Passivity is over-politeness: always putting others first or letting them
take your turn or disturb you without your speaking up.”

Does that sound familiar to anyone? *Hand raised.* I think we can use the
same mantra as above for countering that tendency.

This next one’s a big one:

“Passivity is over-commitment: doing too much for too long for too little
thanks, and when even more is asked of you, doing it dutifully.”

Oh hai, guilty as charged!

Instead, we shall repeat unto ourselves: “I have the right to say
‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ without pressure to decide in accord with someone else’s


“Passivity is avoiding decisive action by coping with an unsatisfactory
situation or relationship or hoping it might change.”

Instead, remember, “What we are not changing, we are choosing.”

The book promises that “Practicing assertiveness leads to a realization
that you have alternatives, no matter how confining your predicament may
be.” That is pretty freakin’ empowering, in my opinion.

What do you think? Are you more passive, or more assertive? Come discuss
with me in the FB group or comment below if you have thoughts to share.



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