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How to Be Assertive Without Being Too Aggressive

How to Be Assertive Without Being Too Aggressive

Have you ever been in a situation where you are in a group whose opinions are not aligned with yours? What did you do? Did you keep quiet or did you express your opinions just as they express themselves?

Assertiveness is a skill of those people who can express themselves straightforwardly, without stepping on the rights of others. However, not everyone knows the importance of assertiveness for both personal and professional lives. Some people find it difficult to be assertive. But what most of us don’t know is that assertiveness is not a unique trait a person can possess that others don’t have. It is actually a skill which we can learn.

Why Do Some People Find It Hard To Be Assertive

To be assertive requires three points of the triangle; the passive, aggressive and assertive . You need to find the right mix of these three important points to be assertive.

The Passive

When we were kids, adults always taught us to be kind and friendly to other kids. Most of us have adapted this teaching to a point where we oftentimes become hesitant to express our opinions and thoughts. We believe that it is not nice to argue and disagree with others.

We develop a passive behavior because we are programmed to believe that those who goes out of the norm and are not afraid to say what they want to say are rude, disrespectful and are often rejected. But what you don’t know is that by being passive no one else gets upset but you. We are stepping into our own rights and it can negatively impact our self-confidence.

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The Aggressive

Completely opposite to being passive, aggressive people tend to fail in considering other people’s rights and feelings. They are not aware that by expressing their opinions, they have undermined the self-esteem and the rights of others.

Aggressive behaviors come in so many ways. By simply demanding someone rather than asking, rushing them or ignoring them, we are encouraging them to be passive while we become aggressive.

The Assertive

Assertiveness is finding the right balance between being passive and being aggressive. It is a two-way communication where we can convey our message and listen to others as well. It encourages an exchange of views so the rights of both parties are exercised and opinions and feelings are expressed appropriately. It means sharing, appreciating others and seeing them as an equal.

It can be a struggle finding the right balance. Our current roles, past experiences, how we view ourselves, the stress we experience and our incorrect assumption that these traits are by nature affect our responses and our communication with others. But if we become self-aware and we open our minds, we will realize how important it is to learn how to be assertive.

How Can Being Assertive Help Our Professional And Personal Lives?

As mentioned earlier, assertiveness can provide significant growth both in our professional and personal lives. Forbes reported [1]that leaders who are assertive are perceived to have higher integrity than those who are not. Also, it is vital for an organization to have a team of assertive individuals that promote cooperation, support, unity, training and developments . This is to successfully establish an effective project management process which is essential for project success.

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When it comes to our personal development, assertiveness sure helps a lot. Here are some of them.

Provide Yourself More Value. Assertiveness increases self-confidence and improves self-image. You develop the awareness that you have are not only entitled to your own opinions, but you have the right to express them. Also, you adopt a more realistic view of yourself.

You Learn To Value Others. Rather than seeing other people as a threat, an assertive behavior allows you to see them in a realistic context. You understand the individualities of a person and you see them as collaborators which can help you achieve things.

Gives You An Opportunity To Achieve More. When you convey your message appropriately and clearly, you never have to worry about unresolved issues or not being able to please other people. You can channel your effort and time for more worthy things which can help you unleash your full potential.

Overall, one major benefit of being assertive is that it allows us to h ave a healthy relationship with other people while improving ourselves. It may not be easy, but over time, we can learn to develop this behavior.

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So, What Does It Takes To Be Assertive?

Each person has different ways of developing assertiveness in them. For others, it can be pretty easy, while for some it may require them a lot of efforts to be assertive. But here are some tips we can work on to develop our assertiveness.

Know Your Value As A Person

Never allow other people to let you feel less important as them. Don’t allow them to make you feel inferior. Understand that your opinions, thoughts, feelings and your right to express them are as valuable as others.

We have a full control of ourselves. Some people may treat us poorly because they can see us doing that on our own selves. That gives them permission to treat us the way they do. Our confidence, energy and our attitude convey a message to people. These trigger their actions towards us.

If they see us as someone who has high regard of ourselves and someone who knows how to protect our rights and dignity, they will treat us as such as well. So it all starts with ourselves. When we know our value as a person, people will start to see us as their equal.

Identify Your Needs And Wants And Address Them

If you wait for people to address and satisfy your needs, you might wait for forever. Be independent. You need to put yourself in action to satisfy your own needs and wants. Moreover, when you learn to work towards satisfying your needs, you are more likely to reach your true potential and you become self-fulfilled. Thus, you boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

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However, in your desire to achieve your goals, do not forget that there are limitations. Do not be over-fixated with your dreams that you ignore and undermine other people’s rights. They too have to work for their own desires so make sure you don’t sacrifice other people’s needs to achieve yours.

Acknowledge The Fact That You Have No Control Of People’s Response

As the cliché saying goes, “you can’t please everyone”. You are not responsible for other people’s response towards your actions. So stop fretting about upsetting them because of your assertive behavior.

We are only responsible for our actions. We should not concede to their wants and needs for as long as we are not violating their rights and feelings. If they don’t like how we assert our own views and opinions, it is not our responsibility.

Express And Accept Criticisms In An Appropriate Manner

We have an imperfect life and that is why we give criticisms to others and receive criticisms as well. It is important that we should learn how to express negative thoughts to others in a way that we don’t violate their rights. Point mistakes and opinions, but express it in a way that it will be useful for the improvement and development of that certain person.

Likewise, when we receive criticisms, we should not take it personally. It’s okay to be upset or angry for a moment, but we should never lose our respect for the person. Instead, let’s view criticisms as a useful feedback which we can use for our personal or professional growth.

Say “No” When You Feel It’s Not Right For You

We always have to go for what’s right for us. We can’t just go with other people’s demand, especially if it is not aligned with our principles. If we do, we are losing our self-worth. We should always remember that it’s okay not no please everyone for as long as we are not stepping on their rights. But, if there is really a need to do things which are beyond our capabilities, we can learn to find other alternatives to meet halfway and provide a win-win solution.

Learning how to be assertive is not as complicated as we think. It may take some time to master assertiveness, but with constant practice, we can slowly make a transition. So give it a try and who knows, sooner or later, you will enjoy the long-term benefits of being assertive.

Reference

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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