Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Aggression and Assertion

Being both soft and strong is a combination few have mastered.
Yasmin Mogahed

I once had an offsite day with the boss of my boss by that time who laughingly shared how he had asked the interns to bet on which elevators would open first. I must have looked at him with a face communicating, "but that is just stupid", which probably explains why my career didn't really go anywhere before he retired. 

Actually, I have changed my perspective on this in the meantime. We all have different types and perform different roles. There are the more aggressive and more passive people; there are the risk takers and those who are in search of certainty. I tend to be more the philosopher type, but I also have my aggressive and entrepreneurial moments. I now understand better that our industry is based on taking calculated risks; so I forced myself to be a little more aggressive in taking positions and communicating those even though I don't have perfect certainty about what's going on.

Spiritual beings often rightly complain about aggressiveness. Mostly it is destructive but there are times when it is desperately needed. Just consider the Heimlich Maneuver when someone chokes on a large object as one such example. You just get the object out of your friend by firmly thrusting his abdomen and problem solved. Passivity will only see your friend die instead! Yet, when aggressive energy is directed towards others in order to get ahead in life, everyone loses out. All spiritual beings, but small children and women in particular, are very sensitive to this destructive male energy.

A spiritual path prepares you for these power battles. There is a perfect harmony of energies along the Way. There is a time for energy to rise and expand outwards, just as there is a time for energy to recede and taking it in. Never meet aggressiveness with aggressiveness; but aggressiveness gives you a perfect opportunity to assert yourself. We spiritual folks in particular frequently make the mistake of not taking enough care of ourselves. In our mission to love the world, we invite abuse. Spirituality is a world where everyone stands to benefit. Learn to be assertive, just as I taught myself to be more aggressive at work to get my ideas across. Thank your aggressive friend who awakens the slumbering lion within.

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