Assertiveness is a skill, and you CAN learn to be assertive
What does being assertive mean to you? Does it mean exercising your rights every time, with every one? Or is it knowing when to let someone else or some other cause or outcome take precedence over your rights? Is the boss who piles work on an employee on a Friday evening being assertive? Or, is it when that employee tells the boss that the work will be done post the weekend?
It isn’t always easy to identify truly assertive behaviour. This is because there is a fine line between assertiveness and aggression.
Assertiveness is not necessarily easy, but it is a skill that can be learned. Developing your assertiveness starts with a good understanding of who you are and a belief in the value you bring – which is the basis of self-confidence. Assertiveness builds on that self-confidence.
Developing Your Assertiveness:
While some people are naturally more assertive than others, even if your disposition tends more towards being either passive or aggressive, you can develop your assertiveness by working on the following
Every fairy tale ends with a happy ever-after message, and in reality, we know that no such thing exists or is possible, or is even desirable. There will always be nature that does something - the flowers wilt, summer gets over, school reopens. Life and death continue their cycles.
Making ourselves believe that we should just not heed any such event, and try really hard to satisfy the social pressures to be happy, always and as much as you can, is only doing ourselves a disservice. Sadness associated with losses, either through natural causes or due to errors of judgement, or due to competitive losses, can help us develop better judgement, prepare for future events and motivate us.
"One of the primary reasons we have emotions in the first place is to help us evaluate our experiences." - Adler
We were given all these emotions because they do give us a real advantage. Being sad over having lost the 100m dash can help us know ourselves better - maybe we will get faster, maybe we will change our sport, maybe next time we'd sit in the rafters and cheer a friend, but we will get through it and learn from it.
Instead of trying to avoid or ignore sadness, a healthier alternative would be to:
Going through the temporary and event-driven sadness, as and when they occur, can be a life-enriching experience, if only we let it. The way to feel better is often through the sadness when it comes, and not around it or to just avoid it.
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.