The Third Power, Part I
This is another article in a series on self-esteem,
of which there are four parts, or Powers, as I call them.
The First major component of self-esteem is basic Worth,
which is the First Power. The Second Power is Competence.
Both of these have been discussed in other articles,
some of which are on this specific article directory.
The Third Power is Ego Strength, and it is comprised of
two parts, Assertiveness and Thick Skinnedness. I'll
address the first part in this article.
Assertiveness is comprised of five steps. The first
is knowing what we think and feel. Without an awareness
of what goes on in our heads, there is little to know, much
less express. Most of the time we have lots of thoughts
and then some of the thoughts engender feelings. This is
the grist for our mills, so to speak. This is the working
material with which we will assert ourselves, or not.
The second step of assertiveness is about deciding whether
what we think or feel is important. If our thoughts come
and go and they have little import, they rank low in
importance. We will not do much with these thoughts or
feelings because they do not show up on the radar screen.
We have them and unconsciously thing, "No big deal."
Sometimes, feelings register with more intensity and it
occurs to us that we may want to say something about them,
or maybe do something about them. When this occurs, we
encounter step three of assertiveness. I call it planning
your work, because it is about fantasizing and planning how
we might express ourselves, not that we have something I
mportant to express. We might say something to someone,
or send an email, or do something dastardly (which would be
aggressive, not assertive). Regardless, we make a plan.
Once having decided on a course of action, we do it.
This is step four, working our plan. Once, done, we then
have some sense of resolution. Right? This is step five,
feedback. If "things" went well, we have closure and
proceed to the next thought or feeling. If what we said
or did not go so well, we have the option to drop it
(give up, re-prioritize, etc.) or try again, saying or doing
something different (back to step three). Feedback is just
about assessing our success and deciding whether or not we
are done with that particular thought or feeling.
I rushed through the five steps of assertiveness because
I've written other articles about this specific subject, and
also because I wrote a separate whole ebook on just this
subject, detailing and elaborating on these and many related
principles, including how to be assertive. For now, it is
important to recognize that assertiveness plays a crucial role
in developing self-esteem. Without speaking up one does not
have a sense of self or other-mastery. Without doing things
that compliment our desires, our lives lack fulfillment.
This is not just true psychologically. It resonates through
our physical lives, at all levels.
If we fail to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings
(step one), we do injustice to our true experiences. This
invalidates self. If we fail to express ourselves, we have
similar experiences, most of the time. There are exceptions
to the latter because sometimes it is enough to just fully
experience ourselves in the moment (mindfulness) without
burdening others with descriptions of our inner experiences.
If we habitually devalue our thoughts and feelings even if
they are clear, up front and present, we still experience
diminution of self. We are saying to ourselves, "Nice
thought or feeling-so what?" In this scenario, we are not
very important, despite the richness of our inner experience.
If we fail to develop a plan of action to express
ourselves, again, we devalue ourselves. This time, the venue
is not so much internal as external. We fail to fully
interact with the real work, that real outside of our inner
zone. This tends to reinforce introversion, which by itself
is not so bad, but as a psychological habit, is less
interactive with others. Interacting with others is how we
initially formed a self-esteem in the first place.
Continued interaction with others is necessary to maintain a