Drs. David and Beverly Sedlacek – „The Assertive Jesus“
By Ruth Koch
Sometimes it seems like life is uphill all the way. Someone is rude to you, verbally abusive, takes advantage of you—whatever—and you, being raised as many women are, to ‘make nice,’ just don’t know how to handle the situation. If you make a big effort to ‘make nice’ with the person who is doing wrong, you will encourage the behavior and participate in their wrongdoing. You don’t want to be the doormat woman who forfeits the respect of those around her.
And I’ll bet you’ve seen too many women who hold it in and hold it in and then just blow up, raining nasty words and red-hot anger and even hatred that has been fermenting for way too long. You don’t want to be that woman who behaves aggressively—hurting others and later regretting it.
And, besides, you’re a Christian woman and that is at the very center of your identity. You want to represent Christ well in all your interactions with others, but you may not be sure just how to balance the whole counsel of God which tells us, for example, to put the needs of others ahead of our own (Philippians 2:3) but also tells us to ‘look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,’ (Philippians 2:4), affirming that it is appropriate to look to our own interests. To untangle some of these competing instructions, we need to look at the concept of assertiveness, the healthy antidote to both passive and aggressive behaviors.
Being assertive falls right in the middle of being passive and being aggressive. If you’re passive, you’ll never get to vocalize your needs; if you’re aggressive, you’ll look like a big bully and will likely be misdirecting your frustrations. But if you’re assertive, you’ll be able to express your desires while respecting the needs of others, and you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want and deserve.
Understanding the Difference between Assertiveness, Aggression, and Passiveness
- Firm, relaxed voice
- Fluent and sincere
- Appropriate volume for situation
- Cooperative and constructive
In my last post, I wrote about the difference between aggressive, passive and assertive behavior styles. In short, aggressive people tend to walk all over others (or try to), passive people (often) get walked all over, and assertive people set clear boundaries by stating their needs clearly and respectfully.
An outright passive person does not have a lot of “to-do” going on internally when it comes to resentment and anger. If these feelings exist, they are usually buried, so the person is more likely to be confused, rather than “secretly angry,” because he is not in touch with his own feelings.