We in India are entering our peak holiday season - Ganesh pooja and Id are over, Dussehra is just about done, and it will be Deepawali in a few weeks and Christmas soon enough. Much of these holidays are based on religious occasions and come with their own rich and particular cultural flavour and heritage.
For many of us, especially those who have moved far from our home towns and original communities, it is a time to reconnect with our families of origin and extended communities, which explains why for almost all major modern cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the festive season means a mad rush at the bus and train stations as thousands of us rushing to get to our home towns in time for the celebration.
All the loud, colourful and festive celebrations are great for those who feel celebratory, but it is an especially difficult time for those who are going through painful losses, have suffered the passing on of a loved one, or have not had such connections. Festive occasions and holidays are especially stressful for those in such circumstances. It can be depressive and a reminder of what one does not have and a source of pain, loneliness and suffering, as much as it is a source of joy to others.
Which brings us to the conversation: How can one protect oneself in festive times, when the whole world seems to be joyful and we just cannot?
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
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.