Friday, September 14, 2012

Success in Assertiveness!

One character flaw I've gone on at length about myself is my past meekness. I tend to be overly quiet, far too hesitant to share my views, and just overall not out there in the intellectual arena. It bothered me because it stands in the way of developing meaningful friendships the way I want to develop them and being a positive influence on others as I want to be. However, these past few days I've had quite the success with being more assertive, and the primary lesson I've learned is that if you want to ultimately embody an idea or ideal, then you have to do it continuously in action, no other means possible.

The number one obstacle preventing me from developing my assertiveness was the belief that I could somehow mentally prime myself all the way to the end result. In other words, that I could somehow continually repeat the desirable attributes to myself over and over again, and all the factors present, including why my fears were irrational, and somehow through that process alone I'd become assertive. Months of mentally priming myself that way have failed to accomplish anything, as I remained as fearful and near-meek as ever.

While contemplating aloud in my car on the way to work a few days ago I realized that there is no substitute for actual action. What I really needed to do was make concrete what being assertive meant in practice, and then simply practice it! I corrected my posture, did a few voice exercises -- I tend to hit soft pitches when nervous -- held my head upright, and spoke honestly while keeping in mind that my fear of repercussion was baseless. It worked! I actually felt more confident, and gradually my fears of hostility faded away. There's still some work to be done, but I'm finally making progress on this goal I've been talking about for months.

Now I know that while good ideas are certainly necessary precursors to meaningful action, they still aren't substitutes for meaningful action. I could practice in my head all day what assertiveness means; it'll hardly amount to anything until I actually *put to action* the visualizations in my head. In other words, I can't sit home "intending" all day; intentions must be put to action in order to amount to anything.

It may seem small, but I find this an important thing to reflect upon because it's actual material proof that I can cite that means ideas put to practice regularly will eventually alter your character, regardless of your feelings at the beginning. So many of my goals . . . such as writing on this blog regularly . . . have been pushed back because I keep trying to mentally prime or "intend" my way to the end result as if it'll happen on it's own, because I continually get disappointed that, once I do attempt an action, I find that my emotions aren't in line with my ideas as I'd like them to be, and consequently get dissuaded, weaken my attempts, or give up altogether. Such as the case with my desire for assertiveness: I thought all the mental priming would naturally make the discomfort melt away before I actually began practicing the traits, so I fell back into old habits when I was disappointed to find that my discomfort persisted. A short little effort to push through it in practice has offered me the proof I needed, and the motivation I've wanted to push harder at other goals.

The motivation spawning is the most important aspect, as too often do feelings of discomfort cause me to give up, as I've taken them as evidence that no actual progress is occurring in my efforts. To the contrary, they are the very proof that changes are occurring, since I'm doing something new which my body and character must adapt to.

From now on I'll use this evidence as refutement to my irrational ways of these last few years, to fuel a motivation to take my goals much more seriously from now on, rather than the foolishly relaxed attitude I've had.

I don't know when I'll exercise that energy in the direction of being a more serious writer on here though, so be patient with me.

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