WoW 047: On assertiveness [Words of Wisdom]

As I was training to become a licensed psychotherapist, my mentor and primary clinical supervisor, Dr. Margo Grieg, would often tell our group of new therapists: "Assertiveness is being clear, kind, and direct: saying what you mean and meaning what you say."

Assertiveness frees you from passivity and enables genuine connection.

For some of us, the most significant way to be vulnerable is to do and say what we want. Unapologetically. I'm not talking about being selfish or inconsiderate. I'm talking about valuing who you are and what you think and feel to the degree that you act on it. Respect yourself enough to speak your mind.

It can bring incredible freedom to let go of the fears of what other people might say or think about you. So be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable, and let other people know you.

Take off that burden of fear, worry, or anxiety. You might just be surprised at what loving and direct communication can do.

Don't forget kindness with your assertiveness. You can be blunt and hurtful with one tone, but with a kind and gentle manner, you can be straightforward and land your message in a winsome way.

Assertiveness; being clear, kind, and direct; helps you:

•be known more deeply.

•become you less of a target to be manipulated or disrespected.

•simplify your message.

•be heard more clearly.

If you see evil and don't speak up, are you not enabling that evil on some level?

If there is beauty and truth, and you don't speak up about it, are you not on some level diminishing that beauty?

If you have ideas to create something good and don't take action on it, are you not passively resisting your creativity on some level?

If you care about someone and don't tell them through affirmations or show them through forgiveness and service, are you not denying your love and their value on some level?

The world and the people you care about need you to stand up, speak out, and love.

When you are struggling with how to communicate, remember:

Take a moment, breathe deep,

pray for assertive wisdom,

and reflect on the question:

What am I really wanting to say, do, or ask?


"Being clear and direct is the best and also the most compassionate way to steer a relationship. A lot of times we mess up conversations by obfuscating how we really feel, or what we really want. Instead of saying, for example, “I feel really defensive when we talk about my spending,” we cover up and play offense: “Well, it’s pretty rich that you’re talking to me about my spending when you’re the one who suggested we take a vacation…” This leads to emotional escalation without getting to the heart of things. The direct route—i.e., stating what you actually mean—usually works best."

Alexandra Carter, Ask for More

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos


How can I say this more clearly and simply?

Can I be direct?

How can I say this with kindness?


Remember, your needs, thoughts, and desires matter.

Live wisely,


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