Effectively speaking up for your beliefs and your values
Sometimes, we grow up in a family where one parent makes the decisions and the other one accepts them. We often describe the one who dominates as an aggressive person when that person does not seem to take into consideration others’ feelings. We may describe a person as passive who goes along and accepts others decisions even when it does not feel good to them. As a child in that kind of family we make a decision to be: aggressive or passive: to take control or let others control you.
But there is another type of family where decisions are discussed and differences are resolved. A child growing up in that kind of family often will learn to be assertive. Assertive people like themselves and feel confident, even when things do not always work out, because they know new situations will give them opportunities to work things out with others.
Developing assertiveness is possible. Often the hardest part is making the decision to be different. Developing the skills, practicing them, and then maintaining them are not hard especially when you have a few caring people who want that for you. If you want to work (and play) comfortably with others, but have difficulty with this, ask a counselor to help you gain assertiveness skills. Others have learned it and so can you!
I find that many people have never considered themselves “passive”. They feel they are doing the right thing by helping others and hoping then that helpfulness will be returned to them. Unfortunately, often the person receiving your gift of acceptance of caring, does not understand that they are not doing the same to you. Getting angry does not feel like a solution, but you do not know what else to do. Many passive people end up being angry and aggressive when they have reached their limit. So they swing both ways and feel out of control.
I work with many people who are passive, and occasionally the aggressive person who never wanted to be that way, but did not know they had become so angry. Learning to be assertive, helps them. It can help you too!