I don’t like conflict. People who know me well will tell you that I’m an easy-going and equanimous person who refrains from arguments and apologizes for everything, just for the sake of sustaining the peace. When a dispute does manifest, I prefer to let it go and meditate on it, trusting that the universe will instill me with the necessary calm to deal with it in an assertive way at a later time. Unfortunately, a series of events in the course of last week have challenged my confidence in practicing assertiveness, and questioned my ability to stand in my power.
As those of you who share a house with other people would know, co-living requires a certain degree of compromise, especially in the beginning, until we can adjust to the new changes and regain our sense of self. Having lived on my own for the past two years, I inevitably developed certain traits and habits that pertained to the independent kind of living that I was accustomed to. Unfortunately, my mere willingness to let go of these habits and transition into a more community-based lifestyle was not enough. As a result, my dislike of drama and argument came into conflict with my need to speak up for myself, leading me to a path of passiveness and powerlessness.
Following a week of events and circumstances characterized by my inability to express my needs and wants, I found myself vacillating in a vibrational vortex of frustration, overwhelm, guilt and resentment. I most potently realized the source of these emotions when, by the end of the week, I started losing my actual voice. The Law of Attraction never fails to present us with palpable evidence of our vibrational frequency, and so my failure to speak up for myself had gained enough momentum through the week, that eventually manifested in the form of a physical ailment. Instead of letting this circumstance drag me into further powerlessness, I decided to appreciate the perfection of the Universe’s workings, and empower myself by identifying and assimilating the teaching behind this situation.
Standing in Your Power
Many of us Lightworkers are Highly Sensitive People (HSP); we are extremely prone to sensing energies and allowing other people’s vibrations, beliefs and actions to affect us in a negative way. To protect ourselves, we avoid harsh environments like clubs and bars, spend a lot of time on our own, and refrain from participating in conversations and arguments that may potentially threaten our emotional integrity. Whereas our sensitivity is our greatest strength in our purpose of bringing love and light in this world, it is also our greatest weakness if we don’t know how to handle it.
Therefore, it is our responsibility as Lightworkers to distinguish between the two different ways of expressing power: Aggression and assertiveness. In my situation, instead of evading conversation and ignoring upsetting circumstances in fear of stirring up conflict, I could still avoid confrontation by speaking up in an assertive way. This implies expressing who I am, what I want and what I need in a calm and loving way, that takes into consideration the other person’s feelings while at the same time upholding my own integrity. Aggression on the other hand, would involve snapping at, and attacking the other person with claims and blames that would instigate defensiveness, and potentially lead to a quarrel.
I’ve found that, regardless of our diverse personality characteristics we all share a deep desire for love and inner peace. Therefore, even in the case of dealing with extremely aggressive and difficult people, we can always express our truth wholeheartedly and know that our attempt will be matched by acceptance and understanding, when we are willing to speak from a place of love. Even the harshest of people soften when we are brave enough to be authentic and speak up for ourselves, and our courage to show vulnerability doing so, encourages them to respond in the same manner. Most importantly, by honouring our feelings and standing in our power in a loving way, we not only stay true to our needs and wants, but we achieve alignment with our higher-self, so that others can see their own truth through us.
The following tips will guide you to expressing your truth in an assertive way:
- When bringing up issues, start with “I feel that…” instead of attacking with phrases like “You do…” or “You are…” Blaming people in this way will instantly put them in a defensive mode, instigating arguments. On the other hand, nobody can challenge the way you feel because your feelings are personal, and therefore, true.
- If you have to bring up traits that bother you in another person, then be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “you are self-centered,” talk about a specific circumstance or action that was self-centered. Generalizations trigger defensiveness, while facts are incontrovertible.
- Keep your calm. Raising the tone of your voice may come out as an attack, which will put the other person at edge. To prevent this, choose to take some time alone after a dispute arises, to ponder on it and regain your calm before you can tackle it.