Let’s practice our ABC’s!

I recently updated some treatment plans and noticed a very interesting pattern: the importance of our ABC’s! I don’t mean the alphabet, although that’s always important too, I’m talking about assertiveness, boundaries, and confidence. In this post I will provide definitions of each, why they are important, benefits of continued use, dangers of little-to-no use, and ways to implement them into daily practice.

  • Assertiveness
    • Assertiveness can be defined as “a social skill that relies heavily on effective communication while simultaneously respecting the thoughts and wishes of others” (psychologytoday.com)
    • Being assertive allows people to make overtures to others and stand up for themselves in a nonaggressive way; be firm without being rude
    • Assertiveness offers many benefits, including but not limited to less anxiety and depression, a greater sense of agency, and healthier relationships
    • People that struggle with being assertive may experience sensitivity to criticism, extreme passivity, and low self-esteem; can range from being treated as “emotional doormats” to completely losing sight of what they need and/or want in life
    • A great step towards being assertive is to concisely state what you want or need from another person, this can be done by using “I” statements (ex. “I need help cleaning the kitchen”)
  • Boundaries
    • Boundaries can be characterized as “limits people set in order to create a healthy sense of personal space” (goodtherapy.org); can be physical or emotional in nature
    • Boundaries allow us to maintain our own identity and personal space within various relationships (i.e., personal, professional); they can often be described as guidelines or rules or how we wanted to be treated
    • Having healthy boundaries can lead to healthier relationships and help people avoid feeling manipulated, taken advantage of, or mistreated
    • Weak or non-existent boundaries often result in feeling emotionally drained, used, or violated
    • A first important step in setting healthy boundaries is to identify what behaviors from others are acceptable and unacceptable and communicate them to those around you (ex. “I will not check my work email after 8 pm”)
  • Confidence
    • Confidence is the “belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed – and the willingness to act accordingly” (psychologytoday.com)
    • Confidence is important as it includes a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in themselves
    • Eluding confidence can help you gain credibility, make positive impressions, and deal with pressure in a healthy and efficient way
    • A lack of confidence can result in anxiety, fear, and self-doubt, ultimately preventing people from taking risks and seizing opportunities; too much confidence can come off as arrogant, cocky, or narcissistic
    • A great way to work towards confidence is by continuously setting and meeting goals that make you feel both capable and competent (ex. “I will work out every other day)


Blog by: Cody Flynn, MA
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash