"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

Assertiveness and Co-Dependency

by Hanson G.
(Washington, DC, USA)

Hanson G's inspirational story takes a long hard look at assertiveness, or rather his lack of assertive skills - where they came from, and what he's tried to do to improve them, and thus improve his life.

It's a fascinating, and intelligent journey...

(STORY THEME: Assertiveness)

My Assertiveness Story...

My struggles with assertiveness, and assertiveness skills, seem to be related to the unpredictability of my co-dependent behaviors, which proliferated during the course of my involvement with a very dysfunctional/authoritarian "aristocratic" family.

Attending elite schools forced me to develop certain assertive skills, but later in life I found it sometimes very difficult to feel "comfortable" asserting myself. Especially with authority figures, or negotiating business with people.

My low self-esteem seemed to foster a lot of fear, shame, and (often unearned!) guilt. It reinforced feelings of powerlessness and habitual self-deprecative thinking, especially in moments of uncertainty or apprehension when dealing with "troublesome" people. Or during "breakdowns" and other challenging moments.

My lack of assertiveness looked like this:

* I had a powerlessness over people, places, and situations - and all of these things inhibited my developing "healthy" assertive skills. Instead, I developed a lot of aggression skills (after I chose farming as my profession). Getting my testosterone going made me feel good about myself. I could feel strong, knowing I could rely on a good work ethic and a good degree of "discipline". But this didn't always help when it came to maintaining different kinds of relationships with people.

* I got into spirituality and religions, thinking they could provide solutions to overcoming my apprehensions and doubts about myself. It seemed they ended up only magnifying them, which further inhibited me from developing (and having faith in) my assertive skills.

As for now, I'm learning today to unravel a lot of the knots of conditioned, deluded, and selfish patterns of thinking: recognizing habitual behaviors when they arise and practicing non-attachment to things.

Detachment is so easy to talk about, but one of the hardest things to practice.

All of that will hopefully enable me to be less obsessed with myself and, subsequently, be more aware of others and what they're trying to communicate to me.

I would like to minimize my self-seeking, though a little "healthy" egotism is sometimes needed.

How good I feel about myself in the future, I think, will be contingent upon how well I develop the mind set for my assertiveness skills, minimizing co-dependencies, and having better attitudes toward myself and others.

Enter altruism!...

Thanks for letting me share some of my story. I don't know whether I've made myself clear enough, but may this be of benefit to anyone reading this.

Hanson G.

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