Aunt Nan is on the other line. She says, “Talk a little louder, honey”. (She doesn't like to wear her hearing aid).
So I repeat a question that’s bugging me.
Aunt Nan, did you ever have trouble being assertive?
"Land sakes, whatever do you mean?"
It’s not about being in somebody’s face, or about having it all one way.
Nan, it’s like this. I went to check on a massage studio that opened last week. The masseuse began with soft music in the background. A warm towel on my back. Effleurage. Every muscle so relaxed.
I sank into that yummy place. Only to be jolted awake by a monologue about a new boyfriend. He’s always late..He didn’t used to…blah, blah.
Nan, I wanted to say Stop talking! I felt so frustrated, because I just wanted the good part to keep on!
"Honey, it’s like deciding whether or not to bring home wormy apples"
Aunt Nan described what she meant:
"I got a new pie recipe from Mildred and wanted to try it out. I drove over to the supermarket for organic apples. Wouldn’t you know it. The only ones I found were banged up and plain wormy. I could take them home and cut out the bad spots…. Or, I could try to get good apples.
I showed one of those ugly apples to the produce manager. Sir, I said, these apples are not acceptable. Poor thing, he looked like he was 20. Anyhow, he started telling me it’s the wrong season for apples.
I decided to stick to my guns. I told him, I know for a fact that decent apples are being shipped out of New Zealand, and those are what I need for my new pie recipe.
Goodness Gracious, do you know what he did? That nice young man went to the storeroom himself, and came back with some of the prettiest Fuji apples I ever did see."
4 keys to assertiveness… according to Aunt Nan
1. Nan isolated the problem.
2. She was clear about what she wanted.
3. Nan understood that she had a choice. She decided to state her needs, clearly without anger or recrimination, to the individual responsible for the situation.
4. And she persisted with her message until she got results.
By the way, the pie was delicious.
Assertiveness is such a powerful concept. Would you agree that it should be encouraged in girls and young women? Does being assertive help you stress less? Who is your assertiveness role model?