• Self-affirmation: why are we asserting ourselves?


    A person lives in society, and from childhood he has to compare himself with others and evaluate others. Self-affirmation is a behavior aimed at asserting one’s own importance, establishing the right to self-expression and achieving the desired social status. This is a need that stimulates one or another type of behavior.

    Motives of self-assertion are determined by the desire to improve material well-being, career, gaining credibility. In addition, it is a tool for knowing oneself, interacting with others.

    This question in psychology was studied from the very beginning of its existence as a science. Initially, self-assertion was considered only from the negative side. But later, psychologists became interested in what specifically determines the mechanisms of self-affirmation, which behavioral strategies are characteristic of a self-affirming person.

    Self-assertion strategies

    The theory of self-assertion is a vast area for the study of human behavior, in which there are three main strategies:

    Self-assertion at the expense of others

    It is negative. A person who asserts himself in this way needs to constantly confirm his own importance, superiority over others. This is manifested through destructive ways: insults, accusations, provoking conflict situations in order to prove their case.


    The reason for such behavior in superficial judgment is seen in high self-esteem. This is indicated by harsh criticism of the opponent, speech turns, demonstrating authoritarianism and significance. But a self-sufficient person does not need to present himself in a favorable light. And self-affirmation of this nature is characteristic of people who are not self-confident, not realized in the public or personal sphere of life, who need to be supported by their significance. The goal “I am not worse or better than others” is recognized as leading in self-affirming behavior.

    The emergence of inferiority complexes due to various reasons.For example, some suffer from a lack of education. Self-esteem falls, and in order to psychological self-defense, a person openly expresses disregard for education: “I earn more money without a diploma”. Typically, these parents do not spare the time and effort to give their children the very education about which they speak so dismissively. In fact, this is nothing more than an attempt to satisfy their own ambitions at the expense of children.

    Low self-esteem makes a person vulnerable, deprived of attention. And the inability to see the depth of the problem leads to the simplest solution - to humiliate the other in order to ascend oneself.

    Developing your self while maintaining interest in others

    Constructive type of self-affirmation. Man strives for self-disclosure through the development of his own personality. Such self-affirmation is a natural process for a person seeking to be realized in society. Constructive self-assertion is important for the individual, as it is a stimulating factor for self-realization. Self-realization is one of the main tasks of personal development. This means that a person is engaged in his favorite work, he took place in the profession, family.I found love, I discovered creative abilities.

    The concept of self-realization is sometimes confused with the concept of social success, although it is not the same thing. In the public consciousness, the understanding of success is due to material security, popularity, and power. Self-realization is the disclosure of natural data, its purpose.


    Self-disclosure of personality is not always possible in all areas of activity. At each age it has its own characteristics. For example, there are cases when physically weak adolescents achieved high results in sports. For this age, the need for self-affirmation is particularly characteristic. And as his best side - hard work on yourself. Adults assert themselves in the profession. In this case, a person reveals his abilities without denying other personalities, the essence of his self-affirmation is the ascent to a higher stage of development. Finding oneself in a new capacity, a new role at each specific time (age) stage.

    With a constructive type of self-affirmation, a person himself determines how to establish himself in society, to gain confidence in the value of his / her self.For women, self-affirmation in the role of mother, wife, and housewife is characteristic. Men's consistency is determined by the success in social and professional activities.

    A successful person can do a lot for others, while his success may not bring him feelings of satisfaction with himself. A self-realized person is a happy person. These two concepts do not completely exclude each other. Some succeed in combining both social success and their own realization.

    Denial of self

    At first glance, self-denial is the opposite of self-assertion. After all, it is a kind of renunciation of himself, alienation from his own individuality. A person considers himself weak, and in order to overcome this, mentally joins someone else, a stronger one, ultimately transfers his qualities to himself.

    In this situation, he lives not his own, but someone else's life, identifies himself with his idol. As a result, it develops those personality traits that are characteristic of the hero chosen by him. Behavior strategies change accordingly. Fans of famous people, fans of celebrities, who are ready to change their appearance and character, having lost their individuality, behave this way.Self-denial is characteristic of adolescents seeking to imitate some famous actor, athlete, musician.

    Self-affirmation: why are we asserting ourselves?

    According to psychologists, each person, asserting himself, has in his arsenal options for behavioral strategies. They are studied in order to classify types of individuals in the process of self-assertion, determine the reasons for choosing a particular strategy, and understand the mechanisms of self-assertion. If a person adheres to only one strategy of self-affirmation, then she feels some psychological problems, which can be difficult to understand. But for the most part, their essence comes down to the inability to communicate, to build relationships with people.

    Observing the behavior of people, psychologists note the ability to refuse as one of the mechanisms of self-assertion. People of different behavioral strategies say “no” differently. The person of the first type of behavior says "no" categorically, without allowing the free will of another person. The personality of a constructive type of self-assertion justifies its refusal, gives arguments, explains why this is the case and not otherwise. A person who is prone to self-denial cannot say no.He has psychological problems because he often has to do what he doesn’t want.

    Why are we asserting ourselves?

    The desire to establish itself in a strong position is inherent in man by nature itself. More KI. Chukovsky in the book "From two to five", expressed the opinion that it is important for the child to be constantly in the spotlight, he tirelessly waits for approval and praise, proudly emphasizes his achievements. This is due to the low position of the child in relation to the adult, his dependence on the elder. And self-affirmation under these conditions can be expressed in the form of aggression as an expression of protest or negativist demonstrativeness, when the child intentionally ignores the demands of adults.

    The little man has not yet received enough life experience, but he is no longer satisfied with the secondary, dependent position. And the desire to assert itself can be viewed here as self-knowledge of the individual, the desire to consolidate one's position, to gain independence.

    Self-assertion, at its best, is necessary for a person. The origins of this phenomenon are in natural selection as the main factor of natural development, when the strongest survive.Affirming yourself means to declare yourself: “I am, I exist.”

    Self-affirmation is a complex socio-psychological complex. The person in the process of self-realization concerns the interests, emotions and attitudes of others. There is a mutual influence of personalities. In the process of communication arises the need for recognition, awareness of their own values. Encourage self-assertion ambition, vanity, ambition. For a person, the desire to secure a certain social status is natural. As a dual nature, a person is guided in his behavior by both positive and negative actions.


    In addition to the great cultural achievements created by writers, philosophers, musicians, scientists, history has kept many examples of terrible crimes. Made them as a result of self-affirmation. The motive of these atrocities is nothing but the desire to stand out, to attract attention, to assert themselves.

    Healthy self-affirmation is aimed at unlocking the potentials laid down in the human personality that require disclosure. And how this process will take place depends on the choice of the person himself.

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