Overcoming The Fear Of Being Assertive With Strangers

I want to share with you a recent victory I had over the fear of being assertive with strangers, and why it's so significant for me. A few days ago I was sitting on a bench seat in a popular park down by the beach near where I live, reading a book written by my father about his early life. After a few minutes another man walked up and asked “Do you mind if I sit here?”, gesturing to the other end of the seat. “No, that's fine”, I smiled and said before returning to my book. [caption id="attachment_2886" align="alignright" width="300"]Would you like to be more confident about being assertive with strangers? Would you like to be more confident about being assertive with strangers?[/caption] The beach in question is a popular tourist destination and attracts a lot of backpackers from all around the world. This guy looked like he might be one, and appeared to be by himself. While reading my book I started to feel a little guilty for ignoring him, as I imagined him being a lonely backpacker in a foreign land seeking someone to talk to. In reality I wasn't “ignoring him”; I was just reading my book which is what I wanted to do. But my old caretaker conditioning of putting other people's needs before my own was kicking in. I reminded myself that most likely he was perfectly capable of looking after himself and that I was free to choose to speak to him or to read my book. I chose to continue reading my book. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago