EQ: Assertiveness, pt. 1

My assertiveness score was the lowest of the 15, coming in at a solid 63 (it appears the highest 140). The goal for all of these attributes, by the way, is to be somewhere in the middle, to hit some kind of balance with all of them. Because too assertive and you get into the aggressive lane. This is currently the furthest thing from a concern I have.

According to my assessment, assertiveness is “…a place where you work with others by finding the right words at the right time to express your feelings and thoughts.” According to The EQ Edge, assertiveness is “…the ability to communicate clearly, specifically and unambiguously, while at the same time being sensitive to the needs of others and their responses in a particular encounter” (75). (Was anyone else bothered by the lack of an oxford comma)?

So basically if I’m assertive, I can tell you what I need or want without being a dick about it.

To be assertive I’d need to be able to express my feelings, express my thought and beliefs, and stand up for myself. Very funny Steven J. Stein.

I laugh because I’m extremely passive. The book talks about two main reasons people tend to be passive: they are scared to embarrass themselves or they are scared to hurt others. I fall into both categories.

Many a therapist (and I have had five now) have told me that I need to assert myself. My mom tells me that too. My response to them is always that I worry about coming off as aggressive when I do that. So the easiest thing is just not to do it. DUH.

Ok, but really, I think my assertiveness score it what really brought the tears up during my training. I mean when people tell you for years that you need to be more assertive, and you think somehow magically it’s been happening, and then you see the most abismal score in the world, and you’re already all about scoring well on tests, it’s just not a recipe for rainbows and smiles.

Also my assertiveness has always been a huge issue in my personal relationships – friends, family, partners. An though it has also affected my work, my personal connections are much much much more important to me.

In the most exciting turn of events (…one can imagine from reading a self-help/personal development book), The EQ Edge talks a lot about self-talk, listening to self talk, and analyzing the beliefs that drive your self talk (LIMITING BELIEFS ANYONE?!)(FULL CIRCLE ANYONE)(Is it grammatically legal to have a row of parenthetical phrases like this)(Yes, grammatically legal as in will the grammar police come arrest me when I do eventually post this)?

My mission: over the next two week I will analyze situations in which I behave passively or aggressively (LOL) or assertively (LOLx2). In doing this I will gain insight to my behavior, my triggers (suck it), and any underlying beliefs I have around this behavior.

The hope is that in two weeks I will prove to myself that acting assertively is good not NAUSEATINGLY HORRIFYING, and also see a decline in my passive behavior and an increase in my assertive behavior without becoming aggressive.

In next week’s episode of Tammy Grows Up, I will share with you why I’m not actually all the worried about being aggressive and update you on week one progress. Don’t hold your breath! A week is a long time.


My sources include The EQ Edge by Steven J. Stein, Ph.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D. as well as my Emotional Intelligence report by Multi-Health Systems. DON’T SUE ME.


Emotional Intelligence, An Intro to Self-Development

I’ve realized one of my struggles with this blog is that it is very unstructured. You should see how many things (post drafts, notebook paper, journal paper, paper, paper, paper) I have scribbled plans on. I think the closest I came to structure was my Fearless Friday posts. But those, sadly, started falling to the wayside.

This is another attempt at structure. And accountability.

Several weeks ago I was lucky to take an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) training at work. And by lucky, I mean I made it happen. I signed up for it. It was awesome. But it also made me cry. Part of the training was taking an EQ assessment. I felt my results were abismal. I have always been very intense about tests. So my abismal results were a serious heartache. No matter how many times the nice trainer said my results weren’t that bad.

As we talked (we had ten minute individual meetings), we covered some of my weaker areas (there are 15 total), as well as some of my stronger areas. Most interestingly we covered how everything works together. I left with red eyes and a slightly more optimistic attitude.

That weekend I bought The EQ Edge, one of the books recommended by our trainer, and set out to improve myself.

Two weeks ago I finally printed out the results of my EQ assessment.

Today I finally cracked open the book!

I have a tendency to overwhelm myself. I sign up to do 1000 (that’s only a small exaggeration) things at once. That lasts anywhere for 4 hours to 4 months, and then I crumble into a pile of failure when it all gets too overwhelming.

So this time I’m going to try to be more reasonable.

Of the 15 attributes I’m focusing on 6: my two weakest attributes as well as the four well-being/happiness indicators.

  • assertiveness
  • independence
  • self-regard
  • optimism
  • interpersonal relationships
  • self-actualization

My first topic will be assertiveness about which I will write more tomorrow. My intention is to update you guys on my progress every Sunday.

Today I realized something odd. My whole life I was told the importance of training and improvement. I picked a field I had interest in. I went and got a degree in that field. Then I trained further by getting a graduate degree. I took notes, practiced, did exercises and homework all to get better at the skills required to be an engineer. I did this for six years. At the same time, I started working – usually taking required training that came along with my job.

The point is, I spent a lot of time training as an engineer. And I’m not even totally sold on the idea of being an engineer! But I’ve never really given much serious time to developing myself as a person.

Sure, I have read plenty of self-help books, but I never did a whole lot beyond that. As that post indicates, for whatever reason I’ve always been kind of embarrased about reading these books. It’s only now that I’m starting to understand that self-development, training for being a better person, is of huge importance to me.

I’ve always had an image of what I wanted my life to look like. Lately I’ve realized that a huge part of that image was how I behaved, how I carried myself. So self-development will start being a part of this blog because it will start being a more active part of my life.

Hope you enjoy!


2017 Self-Imposed Challenge

I am super excited to announce my self-imposed challenge for 2017!!!

As some of you may know, I have a penchant for creating seemingly silly but ultimately important challenges for myself.

In 2013 I decided to run a marathon with very little running experience (and basically no off-the-treadmill running experience whatsoever).

In 2015 I decided to read at least a book a week for 13 months.

I call these challenges silly because they are. There is no great big horrible thing that will happen if I don’t do them. But they are important because they inevitably teach me important lessons.

My running challenge taught me that I was physically and mentally capable of anything I put my mind to. Even things that younger me would have never considered remotely within the realm of things I could or wanted to do. Going from nothing to running a whole marathon in 10 months makes it a lot harder to say “I don’t think I can do that” later on in life. Because I promise you that even a couple of months before I challenged myself, I thought there’s no way I could run a marathon. But I did.

My reading challenge taught me that I get to prioritize what I do with my time. This might seem trite to you, but I’d argue a lot of people don’t take this kind of responsibility over their lives. Up until college, I always loved reading. I took a book with me pretty much everywhere. Even in college, when I was on break, I usually read copiously. This changed drastically when I started working. Suddenly reading just fell off my radar. Then during my Thanksgiving break in 2014 I caught myself devouring books in a way I hadn’t done in a long time. It reminded me how much I loved reading and how much I needed to stop saying “I just don’t have time for reading any more.” This challenge allowed me to prioritize reading in a way I hadn’t let myself as an adult. And I’m glad to say it has really stuck. I may not read a book a week any more (though I still might, I haven’t been tracking), but I still read a lot, and I learned that if reading is important to me then I have to make time for it.

So this year I’m doing a cooking challenge.

I’ve always loved cooking.

Even if my deepest of dieting days I loved cooking.

But it’s way way more fun now that I allow myself to use as much butter as I want.

So I’m challenging myself to try a new recipe every week. And I’m going to try very hard to shy away from the quick, 30-minute meal recipes. I’d really like to hone my skills in the kitchen. To spend time learning about new cuisines. And to just generally up the number of things I feel comfortable cooking with no recipe on hand. Odds are I’ll do most of the new recipe cooking on the weekend to really allow myself to embrace the slow cooking methodology. Maybe I’ll even reinstate the weekly family dinner we used to do in Michigan back in the day. That would be fun!

Keep an eye out for updates. And if you have any recipes you absolutely love, send them my way!