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Assertiveness vs. Aggression: Understanding the Differences and Impact on Communication

confidence mindset
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Being assertive means standing up for yourself or an idea that you believe in. Aggression is an entirely different ball game. Aggressive people are not standing up for their own principles - they are going into battle against someone else's.

Assertiveness comes from a place of confidence.

Aggression is rooted in fear.

Those who are uncomfortable asserting themselves often chalk it up to not wanting to be brash, obnoxious, pushy, or aggressive. The distinction between aggressive vs. assertive is the underlying emotion behind the behavior. Life is all about the nuances.

Assertiveness and aggression both have a big impact on how we communicate. Assertiveness is about communicating our needs, opinions, and feelings in a confident and respectful manner. It involves standing up for oneself and expressing oneself in a way that doesn't trample over others. Aggression is characterized by combative behavior with the intent of intimidating or dominating others. It can involve violence and verbal abuse.

Being assertive can lead to positive outcomes. In contrast, being aggressive often leads to negative consequences and can damage our relationships with others. Assertiveness reflects clear and direct communication, while also being respectful and considerate - no shouting, bullying, blaming, or BS.

Research has shown that assertiveness can lead to better negotiation outcomes, improved work performance, and greater job satisfaction. Assertiveness can also help people declare their needs and boundaries in personal relationships, leading to healthier relationships. Assertiveness has also been linked to greater self-esteem and confidence, which can lead to improved mental health and overall life satisfaction.(Source)

About the author:  Elle Russ is a #1 bestselling author, world-renowned thyroid health expert, and master coach. Want to become more assertive? Take her Confidence Masterclass HERE  


  1. "Assertiveness and Negotiation Outcomes: The Importance of Understanding Interaction Context." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (Source)  

  2. "Assertiveness, Work Performance, and Job Satisfaction: A Review of Empirical Literature." International Journal of Business and Management. (Source) 

  3. "Assertiveness and Job Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Organizational Culture." Journal of Applied Psychology. (Source)

  4. "The Effect of Assertiveness on Work Performance and Job Satisfaction Among Nurses in Iran." BMC Nursing. (Source)

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