Assertive: What’s Right For Me AND What’s Right For You

  

Photo origin unknown.

Issues are inevitable in any relationship. Resolving issues can be one of the most maddening or satisfying facets between two people depending on the approach taken by each party.

There are three common approaches when resolving issues in a relationship:

1. Passive (Becoming small, minimising yourself)

When you are passive, like a loyal teddy bear, you do not want cause a stir or stand up for your issues but in doing that you cause an underlying volcano of emotions. 

2. Aggressive (Becoming big and overpowering)

When you are aggressive, like an angry bear, you tend to stand up too heavily for your issues and have a tendency to forget others have their own rights and issues.

3. Assertive (Understanding you have equal needs and rights)

When you are assertive you pay equal attention to what is right for you and what is right for the other person.

Do you recognize the wisest approach?

Exercising your assertive rights empowers you to take care of yourself while you remain respectful of other people taking care of themselves.

A counselor and friend once told me that no one wakes up in the morning thinking, “How can I tick off my spouse/partner/friend/family today? I feel like making someone really angry.” 

We all hope for love, acceptance, belonging and joy. And we hope to give the same.

When we disappoint, we feel the pain as much as the other person.

My friend shared that she and her spouse remind each other, “I am for you, not against you. We have the same goal…a strong, healthy relationship.”

This helps me to stop and consider that the issue is resolvable because we both want what is best for our relationship. We actually want a win-win resolution. We are both committed to doing what we can to make things better. Even when it means recognising where we are failing and that we don’t get exactly what we originally wanted.

There were times when I thought being a loyal teddy bear was the answer but I wasn’t building a healthy relationship by remaining quite. Other times, I decided being an angry bear would resolve the issues better. Fail.

The most satisfying result, for me, is when we both feel we have a workable solution. I often ask, “Are we clear?” For me, that means the pathway between our hearts is clear of any debri that might separate us. I love hearing, “Clear.”

How about you? Are you clear? Is there debri cluttering the pathway of your heart and someone you care about?

If not, be assertive and clear the pathway as soon as possible!

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5 Effective Ways To Help You Stop “Seeing Red” and Arguing

What comes to mind when you hear the word “carmine”? Immediately, I thought of a passionate, latin woman dressed in vibrant red.

Red is a powerful color. Our One Word Photo Challenge host, Nichole, rightly pointed this out to us. I agree completely. It is a color that produces vivid emotional images: the passion of love or the fury of anger. There is no middle ground with carmine; strong, hot, intense.

deeclarknz.comYesterday, I received a cry for relationship help. An “I can’t take it anymore” plea filled with disappointment, discouragement and anger.

Do you and your partner, spouse or significant other struggle with an underlying flow of anger, frustration, and irritation? Do you argue often? Just how often “do you see red” in your relationship?

Do you think arguing is a healthy part of relationships?

How do you feel in the middle of an argument? Do you feel peace? Do you feel appreciated? Do you feel secure? Do you feel respected? Do you feel loved?

From personal experiences, I have felt none of those things during past arguments. In fact, I was left feeling the exact opposite. For that reason, I don’t argue or make every effort not to argue. I feel angry sometimes. I get snippy and frustrated. Those emotions are valuable if we don’t misuse them.

deeclarknz.comWhy do we argue?

We want peace, our rights, to be valued, to be loved, to be accepted and respected yet we end up feeling worse off than when we began the argument and accomplished quite the opposite.

I read this quote sometime back and I think it hits the nail on the head as a reason for why we argue. “How do conflicts, quarrels and fighting originate?…your desires go unfulfilled…” –James

I want something you don’t want or you want something I don’t want; therefore, we clash and end up devastating one another.

Our world is full of fighting and warring with one another yet we declare we want a world filled with peace and happy co-existence.

deeclarknz.comIn my 54 years of life, I have learned that we are not always going to agree. Put two or more people in a room and there will be a wide array of emotions, beliefs, goals and opinions. We are all different. We won’t always agree.

We find differences within cultures, communities, social groups, and genders. A relationship will house all of those differences and they will irritate us at some point. We are not going to agree 100% of the time. And we shouldn’t have to agree. But can we live together in a healthy, peaceful way?

How do we repair a relationship that has become a constant confrontation?

Here are 5 effective ways to help you stop “seeing red” and arguing. These will help you work toward healthy resolutions to your disagreements.

  1. Give respect. We all know how painful being disrespected feels. In fact, think of times that you have been disrespected and check your pulse? What are you feeling about that memory? I would guess you are not feeling very pleasant. No one enjoys a situation where they walk away feeling a lack of respect. (We might agree on this point.) The key, then, is to look within your heart and dig up your disrespectful attitudes, words and behaviours to aid in repairing communication.
  1. Deal with Fear. We are afraid that we will become a doormat. We fear our rights will be taken from us. We fear that we won’t be loved. We fear that we will be required to be the only one who is the “bigger person”. Eradicating these fears from our heart is not an easy task. Unresolved fear prevents us from communicating our desires effectively. Unpack the baggage, as “they” say.
  1. Communicate. Communicate. I rarely “get it” or understand a point right away. Neither does my dear husband. “How many times do I have to tell you?” Frustration shades our perspective. Maybe I didn’t get this point, but consider that I did finally understand on other issues. This means I am capable of working with you and not against you. Also, we must be willing to communicate honestly what we really feel about the situation. Attempting to show patience, kindness or an attitude of peace by not speaking up will only lead to a volcanic emotional eruption. Those out-bursts are usually more devastating than healing.
  1. Know when to stop. I don’t mean quit the relationship. I mean don’t carry on a conversation that is turning volatile until you say or do something you will regret. We have all been guilty of saying wrong or hurtful words when a conversation turns too difficult. We also hear of fatal or violent endings once enough buttons have been pushed. No matter how hard you try, you cannot go back and undo damage like I have just described. The consequences of careless words and actions can be far reaching. Learn when to stop. Come back to the conversation when the environment is not as charged -if the issue is important enough to try again. It’s also important to know what and when to let go- not all issues are that important.
  1. Find a third party. If you cannot be open enough with the person you are in a relationship with, ask for help. Might I just add, find appropriate help. Friends, family, children and whoever-just-happens-be-there-at the time are not examples of appropriate help. What usually happens when your issues spill out on the-people-around-you is that you provide them with an opportunity to pick up your offense. When this happens and the two of you work things out, the third party is left with no way to resolve what they are feeling. Be wise. Find a third party with experience in mediation to help you both learn to communicate as effectively as possible.

deeclarknz.comFinally, ask yourself: Is what you disagree about more important that the relationship?

A difference in opinion is healthy. But remember, love the person and show them respect. Love yourself by being open and honest. You and your significant other are valuable.

My hope is that if you are in a constant state of “seeing red”, that these tips will help you cultivate a more open, healthy way of dealing with disagreements.

Thank you for spending some time with me today.

D