Haven’t we gone overboard in this country with “assertiveness training” which made its debut back in the 70’s? I admit I fell for it big time when it first got popular. I didn’t need to be prodded too much; it fell right in with my more direct personality anyhow. Finally, it was alright to speak up for yourself and not be walked on anymore and demand your rights and quit stuffing your feelings. Previously there was too much “being rolled over” so the movement was ripe for an audience.
But I’m beginning to notice something. Assertiveness has given way to aggressiveness in many cases. Instead of common courtesy, rudeness is epidemic. Civility is out, loudness is in. Back in the old “stuffing it” days, I don’t remember road rage or trash talk TV. It’s a good thing to stand up for yourself as long as you are not standing on top of someone else to do so. Learning how to be slow to speak sounds to me like a good antidote for over the top assertiveness.
Proverbs 15:28 says; “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” Instead of jumping in and mouthing off right away, we should slow down and consider our response and how we would like it if we were on the receiving end. When something difficult must be said, how can it be said in a way that does not hurt or offend? Assertiveness does not preclude courtesy and a little sprinkling of grace.
When confronted with agitating, irritating and irrational people remember Proverbs 15:28. Don’t let your mouth pour out evil; think things over and be slow to speak.