Noah denkt™ - The Power of Balanced Reasoning
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Whatever happened to the ability to take blows?
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on assertive communication, first drafted on July 17, 2014,
published on July 18, 2014
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    The goal of non-assertive behavior is usually to avoid conflict; however, the habit of non-assertiveness can erode
    your self-respect and make you feel spineless, resentful, helpless, or out of control.  (…) Non-assertiveness,
    endured too long, can easily morph into aggressiveness. From a stance of non-assertion, you suddenly explode
    into an attitude of: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"  When you act aggressively, you
    deliberately violate or ignore the rights of others or carelessly disregard their feelings. There is a third way: Be
    assertive. Assertiveness is defined as “direct, honest, and appropriate ways of standing up for your rights while
    respecting the rights of others.”  It’s the golden mean between non-assertiveness and aggressiveness.
    Meg Zelig: The Assertiveness Habit, (see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201209/the-
    assertiveness-habit)

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): The German word “Nehmerqualität” is hard to translate.. It stems
from the world of boxing and refers to a fighter’s ability to take a great amount of blows without being floored by
them. Joe Frazier, Oscar de la Hoya and Darius Michalczewski are examples of such boxers with tremendous
“taker quality”.  This idea of perfecting your impact resistance intrigues us since it seems to be so tremendously
at odds with the concept of assertive communication that is being touted up and down in the Internet.  After all,
it’s the general notion of said assertive communication to be skeptical about a willingness to take too many
blows since such attitude will ultimately erode self-esteem. How do these two concepts add up?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Well, the perfecting of your resistance to blows in boxing which, by the way,
depends a lot on the individual physicality of the boxer, is not being attempted to avoid conflict but rather to win
a conflict by wearing out your opponent. Non-assertive behavior, however, tries to avoid just that conflict and
that is why it is damaging.

AE: You are, hence, insinuating that stomaching blows is okay if it is being done with the intent of wearing out
your opposition but not if there isn't a fighting attitude coming with it?

Nd: Well, it’s probably more complex than that. After all, social life outside the boxing ring isn't always about
combat. So, one may have to adopt a wide range of different approaches. In other words, it may occasionally
be just as adequate to be patient and non-assertive for generosity’s sake as it may be necessary to be
aggressive in order to protect yourself against an unreasonable predator. The key is to know in which situation
to respond how. And that is quite a challenge since there may be hidden ulterior motives behind any of the
approaches that suggest themselves to you on first glance.

AE: Could you expand on that, please?

Nd: Sure.  Take assertive communication, for instance! It is obviously true and correct that you should stand up
for your rights in a calm and yet assertive manner. But it may also be that your assertive approach is inspired
by a neurotic need to define your very, many limits constantly. Or, take the passive approach: It may well be
that you simply fool yourself thinking that all this stomaching of blows you are engaged in is just about wearing
out the opposition when it really conceals your inert inability to accept conflict and confrontation. In other words,
there is in any case a lot of need for self-reflection and self-analysis.

AE: You make this so complicated that people who do not live as secluded monks can’t figure out what to do. In
fact, it seems to us that you procrastinate about this largely to cover up your own inability for decisive and rapid
action.

Nd: In other words, you believe that people generally have an instinctive knowledge when their boundaries
have been trespassed in an undue manner and assertive action is needed?

AE: Absolutely.

Nd: Well, if that were true, why then don’t you have the decency to avoid attacking us on a personal level when
all we do is politely answer your question?

AE: Because, contrary to you, we don’t pose as Mr. Wisdom himself here. You, however, act like you would
have a God-given vocation to tell us what is wrong and right.  Clearly that grants us the right to dig deeper into
you!

Nd:
We go out off our way to make it clear to everyone that it isn't absolutist, heavenly knowledge, we are
preaching here. Instead, it is the concept of balanced reasoning we promote. Obviously, that includes by
definition a willingness to take into account opposing views. And as far as that is concerned we appreciate your
co-operation. Your latent, personal aggression, however, is entirely uncalled for.
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Keywords:

passive aggressive and assertive communication,effective communication,
non-assertive communication versus assertive communication, pitfalls of assertive
communication, flip side of assertive communication, how to handle conflicts