When confronted with a threatening situation we commonly hear about the fight or flight response, but what we don't realize is there is a space between, a sweet spot if you will and it applies in all aspects of life. This sweet spot is ASSERTIVENESS.
Two common reactions to confrontation are what I call the Piglet and the Hulk response. Piglet is your shy and timid reaction that usually emboldens the aggressor and on the other side of the spectrum is the Hulk response which is over aggressive and typically just escalates the situation. The best way to de-escalate and hopefully put a stop to the entire ordeal before it becomes a fight is to react in the space between Hulk and Piglet. To be bold, but not overbearing: to be assertive.
Assertiveness in Action
When you are being shoved and yelled at by a would be attacker assertiveness is 3 things:
1. Stance: Step back with one leg in a sturdy stance with your hands up like you are about to catch a basketball. Stepping forward is aggressive and having your feet too close together is timid.
2. Eye Contact: Look right at them. Looking down is Piglet and Angry Eyes is Hulk, but a solid unflinching gaze is assertive.
3. Voice: Instead of a hesitant, whimpering voice or a coarse bad batman impression of a voice, try to find that middle ground and in a firm voice simply say: "Back Off!".
"Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us." -Stephen Covey
Fortunately for us all we are not usually being accosted on a daily basis with a physical confrontation. We are however, harassed quite regularly by internal and external forces that are in our face and pushing their agenda on us relentlessly. Buy this! Join this cause! Eat at this location! etc., but how can you apply the principle of assertiveness in your life to get more of what matters most to you accomplished?
Take an assertive stance and don't crumble when the pressure mounts. You know who you are and what you are about. Stand your ground and stay rooted. Allow your eyes to truly see the direction and vision you have for your life. Visualize your success in spite of the obstacles and hold out till your vision for your life manifests itself. Don't hesitate to voice your opinions and to say no more often to projects and opportunities that will ultimately distract you from your true purpose. Every yes you give is a no to something else and that something else just might be far more important to your future.
Assertiveness is effective in stopping fights as well as helping you thrive in life. Do not allow the world to push you around and do not cower under pressure. It is equally important that you do not become overly aggressive and try to force your agenda on others. Live in that sweet spot between Hulk and Piglet and get more done while having more fun living assertively!