Tuesday, June 09, 2020

The Assertive Gene

as-ser-tive
adjective
having or showing a confident and forceful personality

I'm mulling over why so many of us women have trouble being assertive after an online discussion on the topic this morning.  But I can see why, after reading this definition.  It's intimidating.  And a bit unnerving.  I really like the "confident" part.  I think all of us would like to be confident in our choices and our lives, but "forceful"?  

Yeah, no.  

I'd rather be subtle, tactful and pragmatic, peacemaker that I am. I would like to be a force to be reckoned with though.

I do have some maxims that I try to live up to: 
  • Ask for what you want. Because people aren't mind readers and you have nothing to lose by asking.
  • Don't get mad, get even (aka win, not whine). I can either internalize the negativity and selfishness that life seems to be dealing out now or I can donate to my local food bank, support my PBS and NPR stations and volunteer for a candidate--and feel my heart expand instead.
  • Catch them with sugar not vinegar. I'm happy to be polite and listen in the hopes to learn about how you think and then exchange ideas and facts. 
  • Don't overthink it. Tact is good, but sometimes just saying right out loud what you know to be true and right is powerful and righteous.
I am beyond fortunate that my grandma and my mom showed me how to be a strong and confident woman in the time before feminism was even a word.  My grandmother was a risk-taker who immigrated alone, with no English, when she was just a teenager, right after WWI.  She took on the state who asserted eminent domain and won.  My mom always drove equally with my dad on trips and worked outside the home when most women did not.  She was a full contributing partner, not a passive sidekick.  

I'm more tactful than either of them.  But I have opinions and thoughts and can be as stubborn as a limpet in a tidepool. 

I may not know if my self-confidence is environmental or genetic, but I'm grateful that it's the rich soil my personality is rooted in.

Especially now since speaking out against injustice and racism and inequality is important. It's not a time to be quiet. It's time to shout out in support of justice, of brotherhood, of equality.  Although I thought these ideals were self-evident, I've woken up to find that not everybody believes that same. It's time to listen, to exercise empathy, to share experiences and the wisdom the years have taught us. 

Be assertive. Be a force for good.

Thanks for hanging in there and listening. 


 

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