Challenge of the Month: Being Assertive

I am a wimp when it comes to standing up for myself. Some might even call me a pushover, and that, I am.

It’s funny because I’m all gung-ho for defending others and speaking up when they get wronged, but suck at doing so for myself. For years I have let people walk all over me, kept quiet when I disagreed with things, because I wanted to avoid conflict, downplayed how unhappy/not okay I was when people upset me, because I didn’t want to make them feel too guilty, and so on.

So it was definitely a challenge when Starbucks Gal suggested me being firm for once, and told me to tell someone I actually wasn’t okay with something they’d done. I won’t go into detail on what it was exactly, but I steeled myself, put on my best “firm face,” and confronted that person. It was tough for me to stand my ground and not relent and give into them (that’s usually my automatic move in an argument, even when I know I’m right), but I kept going, and we eventually reached a compromise. Now I’m just waiting to see if that person holds up their side of our agreement, here’s hoping!

I know being assertive might not be a big deal to many people, if it’s something they do on a daily basis, but to me, it really is a challenge. I am too much of a people pleaser, and although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s turned me into a bit of a doormat. As a doctor, I’ll have to be firm and assertive because otherwise, in extreme cases, patients would completely take advantage of my niceness.

So thanks for that, Starbucks Gal, I’ll keep working on it!

On an unrelated note, I put my hand up and actually answered a question in our Genetics lecture today! This time last year, doing a bold thing like that would never have crossed my mind, as I was still shaky in Biology due to the gaps I had from A-Level, so today really showed how far I’ve come, YAY.

(If you’re wondering, the question I answered was, “Which type of diseases have a similar inheritance pattern to mitochondrial chromosome disorders?” X-linked, ofcourse 😉 )

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