I’m having my very own Shakespearean moment. To be assertive or not to be assertive…
I was on a training session a week or so ago, and it so happens the topic of discussion was assertiveness. We probably are all aware there are 4 different communication styles are ranging from Passive to Aggressive. Then, of course, there’s the combo Passive-Aggressive, and the only communication style that works is Assertive. The question we all had to answer as WHERE do you struggle to be assertive and with whom? As much as we might like to think we have this one sorted, virtually everyone struggles with this one, somewhere in their life…
For me, that was easy to answer.
For me, the world is neatly divided into my nearest and dearest and everyone who is not in that category. I have no problem whatsoever being assertive if I have no personal relationship with you. I find it easy to stand up for what I want, and I’m no wallflower. If, on the other hand, I care about you and have a deep personal connection, it changes everything. The fact that there is an intimate relationship changes things.
I begin to struggle with being assertive. I self-sensor, hold back, think twice or even three times before I open my mouth. Now here’s the crazy part. I know that assertive communication is the ONLY way of communicating that works and gives the kind of results, relationships, and connection that I want. Assertive communication considers the needs of all and does so in a way that is respectful, values all involved and doesn’t seek to manipulate or hurt others in the process. It creates healthy boundaries, can say NO when and as needed and does so guilt-free.
Yes, I’ll take more of that, please.
It’s the best tool I’ve got to avoid a whole host of problems that come from not standing for my beliefs and values.
So why do I struggle?
I find it so much harder, however, because the perceived risk is way higher for me. I’m invested and have something to lose. That makes me vulnerable and, vulnerability has been a struggle for me for most of my life.
Again, assertive communication is the only style that works. It’s the only way for me to live authentically and in line with my values. Without it, I am not being accountable to me or to those around me. Which presents me with a quandary. Just because I am a Coach, does not mean I have everything handled. I too am a work in progress.
Where do you struggle?
Assertivenss can be measured. Click here to find out more.