Do people walk all over you? Do you often feel resentful? Have you ever said, “I give and give and give…”? If so you should evaluate your level of assertiveness. Assertiveness can be simply defined as behaviors that operate in our own interest. In other words, do you put your own interests, feelings, goals, desires, etc… in front of or behind those of other people? Ask yourself the following 7 questions:
1. When you need directions or further instruction to you ask for it?
2. When you become angry, do you express it or suppress it?
3. When you are in a class or lecture and you are unclear about the point being made, do you ask for clarification?
4. If you were having a conversation with 3 other people and all of them agreed on a topic with which you disagree, do you express your opinion?
5. Are you comfortable speaking in front of a small group engaged in discussing a topic?
6. If someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, do you say no or do you feel the need to make excuses or go anyway?
7. Do you make eye contact with the people you are speaking with?

Let’s examine your answers.
1. Assertive persons ask for further instruction or direction. If you feel fearful or too embarrassed to ask, these may signify a lack of assertiveness caused by low self-esteem among other factors.
2. The inability to express anger can be a sign of a “lack of assertiveness”. When we are unable to say no, we end up doing things that we don’t want to do. We often resent people for “making us do these things”. In fact, there is no one to blame but ourselves. How can you expect people to know that even though you said yes you really meant no? If you do not adequately express yourself, don’t blame others for not understanding you.
3. Again, the inability to ask for clarification signals a lack of assertiveness and possible self-esteem. It is hard to speak up and ask a question but you must remember that to put your interests ahead (I need to understand the material) of others (I don’t want anyone to ask questions) is a sign of assertiveness. Assertiveness is necessary if you wish to achieve your academic potential.
4. Our assertiveness is often measured by our willingness to “go against the grain”. Are you willing to disagree, even if the opinion is wildly unpopular?
5. Do you express your opinions? A small group would be from 8-25 persons. In this setting can you express input? If not, you need to read more about aggressiveness.
6. See # 2. In addition, ask yourself how many resentments you have. Resentment often results from one person’s inability to say no and another’s unaware response of gratitude for the action. This gratitude is often interrupted as disrespect since the person never really wanted to participate. .
7. Eye contact is extremely important in human communication. If you are unable to make or maintain eye contact, evaluate your assertiveness level.
Each of us has the responsibility of protecting our own interests. There are times in life which call for a sacrifice of those interests but it is rare. This should always be the exception and not the rule.

Author's Bio: 

Terry Doherty works all over the UK working extensively with individual and business clients helping clients to stop smoking, manage weight, manage stress, become more confident and helping change many other behavioural issues. Terry uses the latest techniques of hypnosis, NLP and life coaching skills for profound change. He can be reached at http://www.mind-works.co.uk