Generally speaking, I come off as intimidating when people first meet me.
Even though this may be the case, I can assure you, my intimidation is an outward representation of an inwardly guarded person. What others see as intimidation, I see as someone hiding behind walls, trying not to get hurt.
Regardless, I think the biggest reason why I can be intimidating for some people is I am a rather blunt person.
I am one of those people who may not always realize what they say before it is too late. As a result, my bluntness can get me into trouble sometimes. And I may not always be aware of it.
Other times, it can eat me up as I worry incessantly about whether I hurt someone’s feelings. But, for the most part, people don’t mind my bluntness because it contributes to my honesty.
Nevertheless, my bluntness only goes so far. In other words, I chicken out.
I may have always been blunt, but I have not always been assertive. In fact, it is only within the last couple of years, that I have truly begun to understand what it means for me to be assertive.
I’ve slowly learned this definition is different for everyone. I think that’s because we all have a different definition of what makes us comfortable.
Let me give you a bit of a backstory, first.
Growing up, I definitely had my moments of rebellion and an attitude problem. However, on a psychological level, I also submitted to others like it was second nature. I often simply did as I was told or tried my best to not be a bother.
This could have partially been because I was the typical middle-child—somewhat aloof, yet quite vocal and present when necessary. Plus, as I’ve touched on a few times before, I had a bad case of people-pleasing.
I used people-pleasing as a coping mechanism from the trauma of being an orphan. Subconsciously, I felt like I owed it those around me because I constantly feared they’d leave me if I didn’t.
Granted, my previously mentioned attitude did, in fact, cause some people to simply give up on me, which hurt tremendously.
To this day, I still find myself wanting to please others. Thankfully, I have grown immensely in that regard.
I think this is partially because I am more assertive. For me, being assertive means not accepting a situation as is and making a case for myself when necessary.
Now, I can fight for myself when necessary. I don’t give in simply because someone of authority said to.
I always try to understand why I must do something before simply doing it. So, if I don’t understand why I am doing something, I ask questions. I send emails. I seek advice from others.
I speak up for myself when something doesn’t feel right or fair. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’d rather say something and find out I really can’t change the situation than discover using my voice could have altered the outcome.
In fact, I did so only mere days ago when trying to complete a homework assignment. Instead of taking a single response as fact and the end-all, be-all, I spoke up.
And for me, speaking up usually just means saying, “I don’t understand why this happened. Do you mind explaining it to me?” Or, “I am rather confused about this problem. Here’s is how I interpret it.”
Most of the time, my efforts work in my favor, whether it be I walk away finally understanding, therefore learning. Or, sometimes, I realize I misspoke and admit my error.
All that being said, I still struggle to be assertive in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting simply because I am not a confrontational person at heart.
Therefore, I still find myself having to muster up the courage to even speak up. I still feel this knot in my gut and my hands get clammy. It’s as if my body is trying to tell me, “Leave it alone.” For, I am worried about what the recipient of my message may say.
And, to be quite honest, some people truly just intimidate me like none other. Even those who are intimidating can be intimidated! Therefore, what little bit of courage I’ve mustered up can be squandered in mere seconds.
Even though I still struggle in this capacity, I think I am more assertive because I am learning to become more confident in myself and my abilities.
I am not my greatest cheerleader, but I am slowly getting there. I am not my greatest encourager, but I am slowly getting there.
But, before I can reach that point, I have to stop being so concerned about how and if I make someone upset because of my actions. Most importantly, I have to stop overanalyzing comments or words.
As you can see, I am still growing in this area. I will not lose sight of how far I’ve come, though!
My call to you is this: May we all embrace moments that require insane courage in our lives. These 20 seconds of insane courage are different for everyone.
For me, it is all about being assertive and speaking up for myself in various settings. For others, it may be simply leaving the house or going on that stage. Or, publishing a vulnerable piece of work.
Whatever it may be for you and no matter the difficulty, may we all be grateful for those 20 second increments. For, they will slowly, but surely, add up and change us for the better if we allow.
Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.
I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at.
I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).