Are you someone who consistently lives by default? Whatever shows up, shows up, and you react accordingly. Your life is a template; what you have experienced shapes your every day. People who live passively sometimes feel resentful that “nothing ever changes,” or that things happen to them, but they do not understand the part they play in creating that lifestyle.
These more passive individuals usually experience low self-esteem, believing that they do not have the power, the knowledge, or the right to stand up for what they want. They capitulate when they would rather disagree, in the belief that they are being “nice” or “cooperative” in doing so. However, in the process they are denying their soul’s desires. Unfortunately, people often take advantage of these individuals for their willingness to be pleasant no matter the cost to themselves.
Those who live actively, assertively, on the other hand, live as the quote from author Nora Roberts suggests. They recognize their own feelings and desires and take action on them. When they seek to understand, they ask questions. They take charge of the many “moving parts” of life, making decisions based upon the best information available at the time. They know when it is best to capitulate and when it is best to stand strong. They take action when appropriate, cooperate when that is the best course, and feel empowered by the approval of themselves. They understand and care for their own needs. The more assertive person is also aware of and compassionate toward the rights of others and is willing to take action to resolve conflict.
Understand that there is a distinct difference between the active, assertive individual and the aggressive one. The aggressor takes action too far, considering his or her own needs instead of others’.
There are many ways to practice becoming more assertive, gaining more respect from others (and yourself), communicating authentically, and improving your decision-making skills.
- Try using more “I” statements: I feel that, I disagree, etc.
- Become conscious of your body language and practice being more confident.
- Practice saying “no” by starting small – say no to less important requests as you build that “muscle.”
- Speak up when your needs are not being met.
If or when you need more help in living actively vs. passively, do not hesitate to call on us.