We often associate assertiveness with being courageous. I’ve found though, that people get muddled up with the idea that to be courageous means ‘staying strong’ and not showing feelings.
I love the Niccolò Machiavelli quote:
‘Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.’
It tells us that being truly courageous is about being bold, speaking up, being our authentic self. It's not about putting on a mask and pretending that everything is ok.
So when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share that with others, well that’s a very brave and assertive thing to do.
It’s about self-acceptance. It is saying,‘This is me and I accept me as I am. I may not be comfortable, but right now in this moment this is where I'm at - I'm human.
The lovely thing is that very often, once we open our hearts and accept ourselves - others see that and so they accept us too. They respect and admire our courage for being our true selves, and that validation is a great boost for self-esteem.
The added bonus is that sharing vulnerability also gives other people the message that it’s ok for them to be vulnerable too. That's an act of kindness.
So the next time you feel vulnerable and feel you have to hide it - be brave.
Take courage to step into the light and say I’m feeling worried, anxious, unsure, vulnerable here. It’s just where I’m at right now – and I’m brave enough to say so. Now that's being assertive!