Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Becoming more assertive a frightening process all around

I was sitting on a commercial airliner about 13 years ago, after a total romantic disaster, and realized I had to make some major changes in my life.

The odd thing was that I had a good job, was working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and was still having zero success with women. I had been talked into a long-distance relationship with a woman in Nelson, British Columbia, and was coming back several days early from my trip out there. She had disappointed me, I had disappointed her, and she decided to get me out of there early.

It was a long plane ride, and I thought through most of it of what needed to be done.

At home, with the cats and me back in my little house in Lake Worth, I began to initiate my plans. I withdrew from clubs and groups that weren’t offering me anything, stopped talking to some people, and rethought my life from top to bottom. It was a scary but refreshing process and while it didn’t generate any romantic success (I’m still alone, and will be for the rest of my life) it was refreshing to have such a major change.

Soon, I’d embark on more changes that would blast me out of my comfort zone and into career success and new challenges.

I’ve been thinking lately that it’s time for some radical changes again, and the process began with my decision to move back to my house in Ellenton. But some more change is needed, and I’ve decided that a few people have become a bit complacent about me.

It’s nothing very extreme, but I’ve noticed some folks talking to me with less respect than before. I don’t believe in talking to anyone as if they’re a 7-year-old, but some people seem to believe that I’m 7 years old and mentally deficient, and a few have been dealt with already.

Not by outright confrontation. One benefit of life today is you can be subtle about it all (and then write about it for all the world to see). Say you’ve treated someone a certain way and gotten away with a lot of verbal stuff. Suddenly, that person becomes harder to contact. Phone calls go unanswered or unreturned. Email isn’t answered. Comments on blog posts are rejected and deleted.

It’s probably the best way all around, I’m thinking. There’s no howling, screaming, no accusations, etc. You just block that person out and go on with life.

How can you tell if it’s time to make the changes?

• The harder you work, the more someone complains.

• Every day starts to feel like you’re cranking up a “happiness machine” – an ongoing effort to make others happy – and no one’s happy with you or your efforts.

• You get blamed for things, not because you did anything wrong, but because you are conveniently present when the problems are noticed.

• You get long lectures on the failings of your political party or its elected representatives.

• Your career is basically thrown in your face, and you’re lectured on how your career field is the reason everything is wrong in America, and somehow you’re responsible for working in it.

• You wonder if people would love you at all if you were a drug addict or criminal in prison, because they sure as hell don’t appreciate you now when you’re doing everything right.

• When you do make mistakes, they’re hurled in your face publicly.

I read in a book once about assertiveness that the important thing to remember is that it’s your life, not someone else’s and especially not a deity’s. Of course, suicide is not a valid option, but you have the right to make reasonable and intelligent choices about where to live, where to work and what to believe, and others’ input should be advisory and only given if requested, not imposed.

I have made my decisions, and acted upon my choices.

That is final, and I will brook no further discussion on my life and my choices. Everyone else has had their say. And now I’ve had mine.


January 14, 2012 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Vincent, you make an interesting point. Assertiveness is certainly not a comfortable thing because you have to deal with a new way people will perceive you. But the best thing about being assertive is having people ‘removed’ from your life who thought they could treat you a certain way. Well done, it’s a great life lesson.

    Comment by Diana Lowe | January 15, 2012 | Reply

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