First off, I invite you to experience this video. And this. Oh, and this too. Besides a seemingly common theme of black and white imagery and music, they each evoke for me thoughts around Assertiveness and its power to enable our voices. That is the power of Assertiveness and it is a virtue.
Many talk of it not unlike a skill; but, it is more. Consider the Virtue that is Assertiveness. Consider its pre-existence. It exists, regardless of whether we practice it or not. As such, we need only call upon it to access it… something akin to calling on an angel or drawing an arrow from a quiver so to speak. The quality or strength of character exists like an ocean and we but need to take a dip. This is important to remember with Assertiveness and all virtues. They exist and await to be accessed and practiced. Indeed, Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of Genius in the way that we must consider Virtue, IMHO. It is in their practice that we see results. So, let us take some time to consider the Virtue that is Assertiveness, here and now.
It is that strength of character that enables us to speak our voice with quiet and peaceful confidence; and allow others to do the same. It empowers us to speak and share our own truth and value ourselves in doing so. It engages us to stand for what we think to be important and right, and for our own value and worth. With it, we are better able to set clear, consistent and healthy boundaries, knowing we are worthy of respect.
AND, it strengthens us to see the same for others. Desiderata speaks to this when it says “you have a right to be here”. It is neither arrogance nor aggression. Assertiveness stands with dignity. It is noble. It is our voice; and it recognizes the voices of others.
Assertiveness is practiced by:
- speaking and sharing our perspective and truth,
- valuing ourselves, our talents and our gifts
- standing for what we believe to be right
- setting clear and healthy boundaries, and
- expecting and giving respect.
Here is an interesting read on introducing oneself that speaks to this virtue that is Assertiveness. Have a read and consider how you might creatively engage this on your first day of class or sitting at a table at a conference where you know so few. With that in mind, I invite you to also watch this video on Assertiveness with a few ideas on its graceful application. Be warned, the Sun asserts itself amidst the recording though, lol.
In this world in which we live, we need Assertiveness to raise our voices; not in some clash or conflict but in full and effective dialogue and consultation. We need it in the face of the incessant drama. Assertiveness deals with both the apathy and contention because we speak and address in the now; not allowing the festering. We engage in the now, in healthy and honest ways. We need it in the world, locally and globally. We need it in building cultures at school, work and community… of peace, passion and prosperity.
An Exercise or Two in Assertiveness
With that in mind, what daily practices can you engage to encourage a healthy and strong application of Assertiveness in yourself and others at school, work or community? Consult and dialogue… and identify 2-3 simple and daily practices that might encourage the courage to find our voices. That being said, and in so doing, I invite you to reflect on the Virtues Reflection Card above. Have a conversation with your team, class, community or family on how it can be fostered. Then engage that process… the richness of ideas and innovation and initiative will all be advanced.
As a specific exercise in Assertiveness, I invite you to engage an activity I affectionately call CLAWing Your Way™. Identify 3 people in your life who you feel deserve to most know a strength that you see in them that they may not fully see as yet… preferably 1 at work or school, 1 as friend or in the community, and 1 as family. Reflect on:
- one strength of CHARACTER you see in them that they might not yet fully realize and you feel they deserve to know (you can use the poster below)
- reflect on what you LIKE about that strength in them
- WHY you find value in that strength in your life.
Then embark with Assertiveness to take the courage and find an appropriate time of quality and quantity alike to express that eye-to-eye. It may take courage for yourself and for them, but insist, regardless of their humility and possible reaction, that you truly need them to understand how much you appreciate and value that strength. Articulate, in the most real of ways… the evidence from your experience that speaks to this strength you see and value. Be audacious, courageous and honest.
Then, make note of the results… mental note or written. Once we practice Assertiveness, dialogue and friendship and creativity are enhanced and we are all better for it.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
Last week, we shared a post on building united cultures. Assertiveness is powerful in following through on this work.
You can find this post on LINKEDIN as well, right here.
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