Wednesday, April 11, 2012


as-ser-tive: disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior

I was recently told I needed to be more assertive. Many of us would do well if we were a little more assertive. Being assertive can help us along our path to becoming more positive and happy. As we work to become more assertive, we also need to work at accepting the assertiveness of others.

Many of us do not do well with criticism of any kind, be it constructive or not. We are a little better at this in our professional lives as we often see it as separate from our "real" lives and are used to some criticism now and again. We take it a little better and we move on (sometimes). Some of us have been lucky enough to have bosses who are good at giving feedback in a way that is less painful, but I am sure we have all had some bosses who have no idea how to give constructive feedback and even the smallest comment makes us feel like shit. Deep down, we know the feedback can usually be used to help make us a better employee (at least within the company we are in). Many times, the delivery makes this feedback a really hard pill to swallow.

When it comes to feedback in our personal lives, it is usually a little different. We all know people who will take one thing said to them and latch on, bringing it up again and again in conversation, sometimes years later. This could be a little comment that was an attempt to help them, but gets blown out of proportion. Some of us reading this have probably done it from time to time. But, if we really have relationships with people, we have to be able to be more assertive with them and we have to be better at taking comments when they are assertive with us.

Basically, we have to stop taking things personally all the time. If someone you respect tells you that you aren't pulling your weight or need to do something different or better, try to refrain from the frustration you automatically want to feel. Instead, breath and think about whether they are right. We will often not see things other people can see and should listen to them instead of taking it as a personal affront. We are going to grow more if we can keep our minds open instead of allowing them to close in frustration.

The more we can tell other people what we want and need, the easier it will be to find happiness and positivity along our path. The more we can listen and respond to others wants, needs and advice without taking them personally, the better off we will be. In the end, we all need to be a bit more assertive with each other, but we also have to become better at accepting assertiveness in return.

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