Midst a buzzling traffic pool, just at the school entrance, there stood a tall man with a hat, spectacles, and stubbles. He was the one with whom I was to entrust my daughter for her commute back home from the school. Though I had talked with him over phone, I was meeting him in-person meeting for the first time. After a brief introduction of myself, I casually asked for his ID card photographed and sent to my WhatsApp. His expression changed immediately, and he said, “If you trust me, you can subscribe your daughter to my commutation service; I can even pose for you to click me full-size into your mobile; but asking me for my identity card is questioning my credibility as a person”, he responded.

Though I was irritated a bit, considering the time, I apologized and with a plastic smile and left confirming to subscribe my daughter to his commutation service.

However, as I started riding to office, my inner self started a dialogue with me. It is my habit to cud chew my points after every conversation with people. Now, it was whether I was right or the auto-rickshaw driver. But suddenly, something else came into perspective; the guts of the auto-rickshaw driver. The matter was not about his social status; it was about his assertiveness.

Where from assertiveness arise! While he refused to budge to my demand of submitting his identity card, I, though genuinely understood his stance, apologized only to strike the deal, and avoid chaos. Why wasn’t I assertive?

Just pondering about the lack of assertiveness, these questions popped up in line:

  • How many of us set healthy boundaries with others?
  • How many ask for a well-deserved raise at work?
  • How many request an extension on a project?

Reaching office, I immediately googled and came across an article whose conclusion advised:

There will always be situations where some assertive messages would not bring about the desired results. You may face people crossing limits, not get the project extension, pay raise, or the respect you demand. Don’t be discouraged, as you observe challenging, difficult, or even abusive people everywhere, who deny welcoming your assertiveness or even fail matching your level of healthy communication. However, your attempt to voice your needs sends a strong message that you respect yourself enough to speak your mind.

Bear in mind that it takes effort; but practice and resolve, can make you more assertive and help you experience a more gratifying quality of life.

Next time, I encounter with such situation, I’ll surely clear my throat and voice out. How about you?

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