I’m a passive person. I let others make decisions and if I’m asked for my opinion, I say “I don’t know” or “I don’t care”. I say “sorry” a lot. When I do give my opinion or I’m more assertive in a social situation, I feel guilty and embarrassed after the fact. “I didn’t give others a chance. I shouldn’t have said or done that.”
An assertive person (I’m using my notes from my group program here), “acts in their own interest, stands up for self, expresses feelings honestly, is in charge of self in interpersonal relations and chooses for self.”
I’ve been working on being more assertive, but old habits die hard.
Lately, interactions with myself are something like this — when I’m writing an email or text and something is wrong or isn’t going the way it’s supposed to:
“I really want to put sorry here. I am sorry.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Maybe, but I’m sorry that _____ happened.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t your fault.”
“But I feel bad! I’m going to put sorry. It sounds better.”
“Don’t you dare!”
“Sorry…” (and types it)
“Delete it! Right now.”
This can go on for a while. Sometimes the passive side wins, sometimes I do delete the sorry.
So, when I watched Star Wars and focused on Leia and what she says, I was both shocked and extremely inspired. On the spectrum of assertiveness, she’s on the assertive and even at times aggressive side. Sign me up!
I’m still having a hard time shaking off my don’t cares, don’t knows, and sorrys. I want to avoid conflict as much as I can, but giving my opinion doesn’t mean there’s going to be conflict. And sometimes I need a little conflict. If I don’t like something or don’t agree, why is it OK for everyone else to have an opinion but me? I could end up at a steakhouse if I’m not careful when my friends are choosing a place to eat. (Reminder: I don’t eat meat.) Enjoy your sides of corn, Catie!
But no, I’m changing so, unless I want sides of corn for dinner, I will speak up and speak my mind. Or I can ask myself, “Would Princess Leia say sorry here?”
P.S. In case you’re curious about the differences between Passive, Assertive and Aggressive:
P.P.S. Happy Holidays everyone!