Month: February 2014

You can Shine

Yesterday somebody reminded me of the speech made by the late Nelson Mandela. It included the words below:

Our Deepest Fear

by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others’


 This is such a wonderful piece of writing and one you can return to again and again if you hesitate to be assertive. I love the line ‘There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.’  So many people feel that they must fit in; they shouldn’t put themselves forward or stand out. It means that they never show who they really are. They never achieve their full potential.

And isn’t it exhilarating to realise that if we allow ourselves to shine, we give permission for others to do so. Being assertive is not about putting people down, or being aggressive. It’s not about hiding our skills and talents so others don’t have the benefits of sharing them. It’s about owning that side of yourself that is thoughtful, tactful, straightforward, encouraging and positive. Do this and you’ll be a great role model for those around you.

***** Try this! ****

Imagine yourself behaving assertively during the coming week. Note what would be different in how you behave and feel, and how others respond to you. Select one or two events/discussions and actually do it. Choose non-threatening situations where, if you think about it, nothing bad can actually happen. If you are successful, give yourself a huge pat on the back. If it doesn’t go quite to plan, that’s okay. Consider what you can learn from the experience for next time. There is no failure while you are still trying.

I’d love to hear from you

What topics related to assertiveness would you like to see in a future blog? Write to let me know in the comments box below.

Strong Emotions Make You Stupid!

When I was training to be a hypnotherapist, I remember being told Strong Emotions make you stupid!

Now, there’s a thought. It took me a while to think about mistakes I’d made in my life and, sure enough, they’d all been linked to strong emotions (quite a few of them hormonal!). The amygdala, the bit of the brain that regulates our behaviour, gets highjacked by strong emotions. This means that our decisions may be flawed and we may not behave as sensibly or assertively as we would like.

Here’s an example. Tracey and Julie had been friends for many years. Both single, they’d always hoped for the right relationship, but neither had achieved what they wishes.  Still, they enjoyed being young and single and spending time together.

Unexpectedly, Tracey met Mr Right at a conference, and they soon become a couple. Julie was upset; let’s face it, her amygdala was overwhelmed and she became terribly jealous. Her friend was no longer available as readily as before, and Mr Right had to be taken into consideration with all planned get-togethers.

Instead of assertively discussing her fears, and finding a new way for the friendship to continue, Julie acted sulkily and became demanding. Tracey felt torn – her new partner was wonderful company, but she wanted to give Julie attention too. Increasingly, time with Julie was no longer fun. Her sulks and demands made her just hard work. Tracey tried for a long time, and several times tried to address the issue assertively with her friend.

Unfortunately, Julie was not responsive. Eventually, Tracey gave up and withdrew from the friendship. Julie’s lack of assertiveness caused a self-fulfilling prophesy to come true. She lost her good friend. Not because of Mr Right, but because of her own behaviour.

*** Try this***

If you have issues you need to discuss with someone, plan ahead for the conversation. Write yourself a script or practice with a friend or in front of the mirror. Use calming techniques if you need to. Choose a quiet time when you are both calm and unlikely to be interrupted. If you are not sure how to word things, you may well find ideas in my book How to be Assertive, available on kindle. You’ll also find some calming techniques there.