Today should have concluded my two week exercise in assertiveness.
I can’t say I was completely focused on asserting myself either of these weeks.
For many reasons (gender, family roles, upbringing, etc.) I have had passiveness deeply engrained in me. It has been that was for as long as I can remember. And if there’s anything these two weeks have shown me, it’s that it’ll take a lot more than two weeks for me to become more naturally assertive. So I’m going to continue these exercises into 2017.
You see, I have always been taught to be nice to others.
On the surface this is not a bad statement.
The problem is, I have learned to be nice to others at a cost to my well being. Then I get frustrated and upset when I get hurt. I never learned how to balance this equation. I never learned that sometimes I need to put myself, my needs, my wants first.
Even when I do manage to do something that is right for me, I reason it in a way that is good for others. Doing something for myself feels wrong, selfish, horrible. But the problem is, when I always do things for other people I start getting resentful that they’re not paying back in kind. This is when my passive aggressive sides comes out.
It’s been really hard.
It’s been hard to say no when I want to say no and not feel like I have to come up with an excuse.
It’s been really hard to ask directly for what I want, knowing that someone else may very well say no.
It’s been hard but it’s getting a little bit easier every single day.
Because the truth is, getting rejected really hurts. But so does not getting what you want because you never asked for it.