One of the reasons why our lives are harder than they might be is that most of us have not got a firm handle on the art of mature self-assertion; that is, the ability to put forward our interests in… Open at source
It was the genius of Aristotle, the first systematic Western explorer of human emotions, to see that maturity very often lies at a midway point between two extremes. His Nicomachean Ethics advances a famous tripartite table outlining ideal forms of behaviour – along with their two characteristically deficient or excessive departures.
The challenge of mastering assertion too frequently lacks dignity. We should see it as one of the great psychological hurdles; to have learnt how to assert oneself steadily and graciously might be ranked a feat no less worthy of celebration than climbing a mountain or making a fortune (and a lot more useful).
We should assert ourselves not because it’s always going to work; indeed a bit of pessimism can be hugely handy, for it’s when we know that people might not get it at all that we no longer feel so desperate that they must. We should assert ourselves irrespective of results because it will lend us an all important sense of our own agency and strength. And we’ll twitch less.