Many people confuse assertive communication with being right. They focus on winning instead of focusing on the result that they really want to achieve. As a result of this people don’t listen to what is being said. The result of this is that they do not understand what the other person is trying to communicate to them. This is precisely where the whole conversation starts to break down.
From a very early at each we are taught that it is wrong to cooperate. What do I mean by that? When you go to school you are taught don’t copy Johnny or Susie’s work. You are taught that sharing resources and ideas is somehow cheating. You are taught that this is bad. I’m not one hundred percent sure what the psychological effect of this mindset is on a young brain but I suspect it is not good. The reason we look over their shoulder of other people is because we want to learn.
I believe that at a deep level this sets up divisions on an emotional and psychological level. We are also taught that you have an inherent rights to not share that which is important to you. This comes from beliefs about scarcity and lack. Scarcity and lack set the ground for conflict and the need for assertiveness comes out of a belief that there is in fact a conflict.
Scarcity, lack and conflict are all just the need for assertive communication is just a belief in our society. We are taught that children must be trained. We are not taught that children must be guided towards being able to make better decisions.
A belief in scarcity and lack lead to resentment and insecurity. People don’t feel good about themselves and they go into fight or flight responses. Both the fight and the flight response are defensive and at the end of the day what are you defending? On many levels you are merely defending your ego. Your position. Your view.
Why do you want to go through all of the rollercoaster emotions involved in using assertive communication? Is there a degree of addiction to being right?
These are radical ideas. My views do not set into those of the establishment. I believe we are taught from an early age how to not cooperate with one another beyond what is absolutely necessary to sustain life. I also believe we are taught, subtly how to be in conflict with one another.
Before you reach for your arsenal of assertive communication skills stop for a moment and consider this.
What is the outcome but I want to get from this conversation, this interaction, this dialogue and how can I do this most easily? How can I not only get this result for myself but also for the other person?
By operating from this win-win mindset not only do we both get what we want. Neither of us has to feel resentment, or plan revenge at the earliest opportunity.
Try out this new mindset. By doing so you’ll be amazed at the results that you are going to get.
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