Assertiveness refers to the ability to directly and confidently express one's thoughts and feelings to others. It is not aggressiveness; assertive people can express themselves without violating the rights of others and yet get their needs met at the same time.
Assertiveness is a crucial life skill. Attaining goals, managing stress, having rewarding relationships and work, and preventing problematic encounters or events depend on the capacity to productively voice opinions, preferences and needs. In addition to aggressiveness, assertiveness can be contrasted with other forms of communication, including passivity (an inability to communicate directly) and passive-aggressiveness (a tendency to communicate anger indirectly). We should all strive to communicate assertively because we are all capable of every form of communication.
Assertiveness is like any other skill in that it can be learned. Call the Counseling Center at 348-3863 if you would like to become more assertive. Also, here is a good text on this subject:
Your Perfect Right (2001, 8th Ed.)
by Robert Alberti & Michael Emmons