What’s the difference between Assertive vs Aggressive?

by | Jul 30, 2021

When teaching couples to dance, I always emphasize that the woman needs to be an active follower, NOT a passive one. In other words, she has a shared responsibility in creating the dance, even if the man leads. The man on the other hand, needs to learn how to make quick decisions within seconds in order to determine the outline of steps he chooses to put together while spontaneously creating the dance.

This is important distinction because creating art together requires collaboration, which means the couple will be sharing what they both need in order to achieve the desired outcome they want, which inevitably will always be imperfect, just like life. (But perfection versus imperfection is an entire other topic of conversation).

Let’s begin by clarifying the difference between aggressive and assertive communication styles:

  • Aggressive communication is a method of expressing needs and desires that do not take into account the welfare of others. You value yourself more than others. You’ll ignore or attack someone’s feelings in favor of your own.

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“Aggression is a debate-exerting power to protect oneself.”

-Esther Perel

  • Assertive communication is the ability to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without passively accepting wrong. You value yourself equal to others. You’re not afraid to express your opinion, even if it won’t be liked, while maintaining mutual respect.

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“Assertiveness is a dialogue that allows for input from others.”

-Esther Perel

Therefore shifting the way we think about how we compromise and collaborate in order to create an open dialogue where 2 people are willing to meet in a harmonious middle in order to create the dance of life is imperative to foster love.

Being assertive comes from a place of love for all (including oneself), whereas aggression comes from a place of fear.

Spread your love!

In Joy,

Patty Contenta

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