Thursday, 17 April 2014

Are You Assertive Enough?

Just like it takes two to tango, it takes two thinking individual minds for a relationship to blossom not a mind and a resentful doormat. A relationship, whether on personal or professional grounds, cannot thrive in the absence of dialogue. Since I'm a partial escapist, I'd put a quarter of the blame for learning this the harder way on my culture and two thirds on me persistently being a masochist.

What's your take?
From the very beginning, we are taught to obey. There's nothing wrong with that. But there's a thin line between obeying and obeying blindly. Obeying blindly in an effort to be more likable and accepted, not voicing my opinions in fear of offending people and lacking the ability to say 'No' when my insides were raging has cost me a good deal of emotional energy, countless hours of good night sleep that I spent plotting revenge and dealing with an overpowering feeling of being victimized. And the funny part is, I always thought I was assertive when clinically I was exactly the opposite. A Passive Polly!!!

Over time and at the expense of many 'not so good' experiences I have learnt that being assertive is an invaluable communication skill and is an integral part of emotional intelligence. It is a way of communicating that you respect yourself enough to stand up for yourself and are confident about what you are asserting without disrespecting other people or belittling their interests. Here are a few advantages of being assertive:
1. Less stressful than being passive/aggressive
2. Maintain better relationships
3. Does not lead to resentment (that can be held on to for a long long time...)
4. Leads to peaceful coexistence
5. You will have more positive energy to divert in constructive areas
6. Leads to high self-esteem

Both the other extremes, passivity and aggression have their own repercussions. Where passivity may leave you with wrath seething inside you, aggression may lead to avoidance and opposition from the other side.

Everyone, regardless of the personality types can learn to be more assertive though some individuals are naturally blessed with this communication technique. The crux lies in resisting the urge to react with aggression, admitting when wrong and respecting boundaries.

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