Assertive vs Aggressive

I like to think of myself as a straight shooter.  I speak my mind.  I am that person in my family who says what everyone else is thinking but never speak up.

Yep.. that’s me up there on my self-righteous pedestal.  I’m waving to you passive folks below.   See the plaque below me that says, “You want me on this podium!”

No, it is no wonder why I’m the b*tch in the family – only I couldn’t see it for a long time.  “They just candle the truth” is quite a life motto.

Or it was… Until I stopped blaming everyone else for my life and started my inner quest.  Now I know the difference between being assertive and being (a b*tch) aggressive.

I’d love to share the difference with you because communication – and communicating well and with love – is vital to our well being.  Aggressive communication drives people away – yes, even if you are only speaking the truth and are not “wrong”. The way you say it is the difference between being empowered or being the family member (or co-worker) no one wants around.

Aggressiveness is about winning.  Overly assertive people generally have a low self-esteem and compensate with aggressive energy.  I want to win the argument and I want you to lose. I want you to agree with me even if I have to beat you down verbally to get there.  I will control the dialogue so I can control the outcome.  I will be proven superior to you.

Being aggressive is being a bully.  Period.

Assertiveness is about standing your ground while allowing the other person the dignity to stand theirs as well. Assertive people are confident and respectful of others.   I have something to say and then I want to hear your thoughts.  I respect your boundaries and have my own that are just as important.  I want to work together on this issue.  We are equals.  I have rights and you have rights.

Being assertive allows for a win-win situation.

How do you change from aggressive to assertive if you are an overly aggressive person?

It’s about perspective, really.  It’s how we view others in our world and how we see ourselves.  Years ago I thought it was my job to point out the truth to some people in my family – it was my role to get them to change their ways.  It was all about me and my wishes.

Changing to a more assertive energy allowed me to release the problems of others so I could deal with my own shizz.  It allowed me to not be a co-dependent running around fixing everyone.  It allowed me to have boundaries and keep out of drama and gossip for my own mental and emotional health.

Most importantly, it now allows me to see my family (and co-workers) as equally important people – whose rights and feelings and opinions are as valid as mine.  I approach any situation where I need to advocate for myself or to offer information to others from a heart-centered place of respect, empathy, directness and honesty and do so with as much kindness and compassion as can be worded.  No more do I just blurt things out because I can.  I make a sincere effort to stop and think before replying or adding to a discussion. And, I allow the other person to finish what they have to say before I think about replying.

I saw a post on Facebook a while back that said we should ask three questions before posting on social media.  These are the questions I ask myself before I even begin to form a response in a conversation.

  1. Is it kind?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Is it necessary?

And then I form my response with compassion and respect for the other person.

Try it next time you engage on a Facebook group chat where you disagree with a post and see how it works for you.

Best Wishes!

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