It takes conversational courage to be assertive. Women often wonder how to be more assertive at home.
I remember sitting in my first counselor's office so many years ago, coming to terms with an abortion. She put down the pad and pen and looked at me with a gentle smile.
“Cathy, you have so much courage.” Really? No one ever told me I had courage before, I thought.
Instantly, I knew it was true. But, being more assertive at home is a challenge for the most courageous at heart. Not everyone wants all the information all the time. In fact, there are folks in our life that are just hoping we will continue to pretend everything is hunky-dory.
Somewhere along the way, we learn some boundaries. We can learn to guard our own heart both ways.
First, we learn to respect the boundary of our loved ones. What can they hear without feeling overwhelmed? We can learn new skills to deliver information without harming the other person in the process. We need to be judicious about what we share and when. Sometimes, quiet companionship is the most soothing thing we can offer a friend or our husband. It takes courage to learn new skills and to patiently pass skills along to those we love.
Second, when we are in the habit of just going along, it takes courage to speak up. We have to learn to recognize our "ouch" moments and put a foot down when our boundaries are being trampled. We often choose compliance because it seems easier to just go along. Actually, it is probably easier in the short run simply to comply. However, disciple to listen when we feel like pressing our point takes courage and patience. Choosing conversation over debate results in long term fellowship. To get there, we have to learn new skills, including appropriate and judicious assertiveness. The big risk of being vulnerable diminishes as we learn skills. Victory can be ours relatively quickly!
We create an opportunity for people to love us unconditionally and whole-heartedly when we choose vulnerability. Of course, when we finally get to that place where we are courageous enough to be real, then we find out who our real friends are. They often turn out to be amazing women who also live openly with integrity and compassion. Or the closest, most beloved people in our life, our own hubby, kiddos, our amazing grandchildren, and our adult siblings.
For all of us, communicating takes the courage to be vulnerable, to listen, to have a heart of compassion, and to be patient and strong. You are not alone in seeking to practice the gentle art of companionship by enriching your relationships with truth. I admire your courage.
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Comments are invited at cathykrafve.com.