Tip of the Week: Assertiveness

Assertiveness is easily misunderstood. It is not Aggressiveness, which demands respect but does not necessarily give it. It is not passivity, which gives respect but does not defend itself. Assertiveness is characterized by mutual respect -- a simultaneous acknowledgment of the rights and responsibilities of both parties involved in a dispute.

To use a food metaphor, assertiveness is the delicious middle between the top-crust of aggression and the soggy-bottom of passivity in the sandwich of human interaction. Yes, maybe the bread is an unavoidably necessary part of the hand-held meal, but it is the portion between the slices that is the tasty focus of the whole endeavor.

In my mind, the best sandwiches have succulent centers stacked high between two thinly sliced pieces of bread. In my life, the best relationships are jam-packed with mutual respect and make allowances for the occasional mistake of aggressive or passive behavior.