Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to attend a 2-day session on Assertiveness (and before I write about the topic, I’m going to take a moment to thank my employer – Elsevier, for giving me this opportunity and focusing on the wholesome growth of employees, rather than just looking at us as low-level employees who are paid to do their tasks).
The session was like a breath of fresh air! We had a wonderful trainer (who looked like, and reminded me a lot of Dumbledore) who facilitated the session. Being assertive involves a lot of things that we already know, but seldom practise. The various examples of aggressiveness, assertiveness, passivity, and passive-aggressiveness made me realise how we all tend to adopt different approaches in different situations, and towards different people. While it may not be actually possible to be assertive in all situations, there is always a better way to be 90% of the time.
While I usually describe myself as assertive, advising anybody who would listen on how to respect themselves and not let people walk all over them, I realised that subconsciously, I have been passive myself for most of my life, and then rage internally about the unfairness of life, and the aggressiveness of people! 😐 But now I’m so glad that I’m no longer that person.
The session involved a variety of activities that helped us let go of our crippling beliefs, increase our self-esteem and thereby improve our self-respect and confidence. The higher our self-esteem, the more assertive we tend to be. We actually wrote love letters to our future selves (and I can’t wait for the day I will receive mine!) 😀 We also talked to the group about one moment in our lives that we are proudest of, wrote positive comments for everyone else who attended the session, and in turn, got some wonderful comments ourselves. We also learnt some wonderful techniques to use for being assertive.
My favourite part of the entire session was an activity where we wrote down one belief that limited us the most, and then burnt it. Cleansing, some would say; I call it life-changing! Unbeknownst to ourselves, some of our limiting beliefs actually define us and the way we perceive and interact with the world. This session gave me the power to recognise that belief and let go of it. Even as I write this post without any inhibitions of what the readers would think of it, I realise that I am a changed person. I am able to see that my thoughts have changed, my focus has changed, my reservations have declined. In the past 3 days, I have already done at least two things that I never would have done before.
It was also a wonderful batch that took part in the session, and an amazing wave of optimism and an unquenchable thirst for life flowed through all of us towards its close. We are now truly empowered! 🙂
Writer on the rocks.