It hit me this morning, as I was attempting to do some logistical arranging with my daughter, just how confusing I can be for some people. Because I primarily choose to focus on the positive and I make the constant effort to improve my own perspective, attitude and outlook, it is always so shocking to people when I am not being “positive”. As a matter of fact, my daughter sent this message to me this morning: “Someone’s being negative for no reason. What’s wrong today?” This stopped me in my tracks and after putting in a load of laundry, I realized I had to write about it.
I learned from Michael Losier, an author and speaker in the realm of the principles of law of attraction, that feeling words in the dictionary will generally fall into one of two categories – negative or positive. Feelings like: sad, frustrated, depressed, angry, overwhelmed, etc. would be placed in the negative category and feelings like: happy, grateful, pleased, joyful, etc. would go in the positive category. Since we basically emit energy out into the world according to how we are feeling, it is extremely helpful to be aware of what we are feeling, at all times.
The messaging conversation with my daughter began with some questions, in order for me to establish a plan, over the next month. As the conversation progressed and it was evident we were on different pages, my texts got more assertive in nature. That is when my daughter sent me the message that I was being negative. There is a clear difference between being negative and being assertive and I believe this is what throws people off. Any time I am not “positive”, it seems like I am not being myself.
On the continuum of passive to aggressive, assertive falls right in the middle. When we are dealing with any situation, most people are either passive, assertive or aggressive. In my younger years, I used to be passive and in many ways I was shy, accommodating and generally, a doormat. Then, sometimes when we find our voice, we tend to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and move to aggressive, where we tend to be extremely bold, almost overbearing and somewhat difficult. In the middle lies the sweet spot of assertive, where we are able to express ourselves clearly, establishing clear boundaries and getting our point across in a respectful way.
The problem with emails, texts and messaging is that our tone, meaning and intentions can often be lost, as the majority of our communication is actually non-verbal. If we are sitting behind a keyboard, our messages can get lost in translation. What my daughter called negative was actually me being assertive.
The guy on the other end of my deferred Newfoundland furniture payment plan also got a taste of my assertiveness this week. I discovered that a new financing company took over a department store credit card where I had no payments and no interest due until September. Apparently, in a letter that I just received, the new financing company ended my deferred payments and stated that my full outstanding balance would be switched to 37.24% interest, effective June 1st. I just about lost my mind, when I read it and immediately called the new company.
After an extremely assertive conversation, I was told that there were some issues with the transition between financing companies, my statements were months behind and I needed to be patient until my account was fully reviewed. It took everything I had to remain calm, professional and respectful, even though I wanted to use nasty swear words to communicate, and I was about to go aggressive.
Now, when I get a headache, it usually means that I am holding myself back from sliding over to aggression, from assertiveness, and that I am internalizing those feelings. Just because I choose to focus on the positive in life doesn’t mean that my world is all rosy and I am always skipping around the back yard taking flower photos.
What life means is that crap happens all of the time: people run red lights and almost cause accidents right in front of us (with small children in our vehicle), people have different opinions and different perspectives on the best way to deal with things, financing companies screw up royally, which can cost consumers hundreds of dollars in mistaken charges, cell phone companies do not enter a travel plan properly on your account, resulting in a $681 cell bill and you can’t find the childproof place that you stored your new thyroid medication, for nine hours, resulting in your hormones being out of wack for days.
All of the above things have recently happened to me and it requires me to go from my place of peace, serenity, wellness and constant effort to stay sane, to the place of assertiveness, to handle the task at hand. I may quickly return to calm by going outside in my housecoat to snap nature photos, decompress my nerves and remind myself of my happy place, but you are darn right that I can step up my assertiveness on the drop of a dime and my life will not always be full of rainbows and sunshine.
So, for those who are dismayed when I get on my soapbox about a community issue, a wrongdoing or an injustice of some sort, I will speak up, I will put my foot down, I will state what needs to be said in order to get my point across and I will have bad days (inching towards aggression), even if I tend to spend most of my time in the awesomeness of nature, the beauty of the planet and the endless things I have to be grateful for.
Where are you most of the time – passive, assertive or aggressive? Is that working for you? If you are living on the passive or aggressive end, this will take a toll on your family, your health and your overall enjoyment of life. Even though assertiveness is the golden key, are you willing to do the work to get there? What action are you willing to take to get healthier?
We can still choose to live positively and be assertive, at the same time; it is never-ending commitment. It doesn’t mean that the negative stuff goes away – we just get quicker at squirming out from under the dark cloud. Just like we don’t get to be in shape by exercising once or twice, we are making a long-term decision to take the steps necessary to shift our experience of life. I certainly feel it is worth the effort and I hope you will join me.
“When men speak up, they are considered assertive. When women speak up, they are considered bossy.” ~ Author Unknown (Thus, a perfect example of differences in perspective.)
Have a great week ahead!
This week’s outdoor photos: Harmony Beach