Rejection – What I Can Learn from Assertive People

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Years ago, when I was taking photographs for one of the kids’ sports teams, I was struck by one of the athlete’s assertiveness. While I was clicking away, a child stopped and said, “I don’t want my picture taken now.” I was so struck by their statement. Not because I was put off by the assertiveness, but because I wasn’t. In years past I would have been so hurt and offended by someone rejecting me like that. But in this case, I was so proud of the young person for being brave enough to set a clear line with me.

As you know, I often struggle with setting healthy boundaries. But since I’ve figured this out about myself, I’ve been able to experience rejection in a whole new light. While I used to take it so personally, now I take notes. I can learn something from these people:

This is what it looks like to advocate for yourself. 

This is what it looks like to prioritize your needs. 

This is what it looks like to speak out about what makes you uncomfortable.

I know everyone doesn’t establish their parameters in a gentle and kind way, but I don’t want to miss the bigger picture. If I make their assertiveness about the tone, or how they go about getting their needs met (the way I used to), I make it about me and completely lose the lesson. The bottom line is, just because I know how to ask nicely for what I want, doesn’t mean that I actually ask for what I want!

Assertive people: Please, keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll be over here spying on you and continually trying to follow your lead. Oh, and thank you oh-so-much for the inspiration.

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  1. Working on this too – thanks, Mags.

    • Again Jules, doesn’t this feel like it falls into that “pleasing” thing again?
      Advocating for ME might hurt YOU…stuff.
      I’ve had some major breakthroughs with this over the last few weeks.
      It’s like that “feel the guilt and do it anyway” phrase…I’m just leaning into the discomfort, and I gotta report, it feels SO MUCH BETTER than keeping my mouth shut.

  2. Love this- It also kinda tells us don’t be afraid of what we don’t yet know- find your education where it falls and be excited to learn and grow. I love your natural evolutions and lessons!!!

    • Now here’s an assertive woman!
      You’re one of the people I look to Raquel.
      Please keep standing up for yourself, I’m taking notes 😉

  3. So funny, I spy on you because I consider you an assertive person!

    • Marie! Yay, this is such good news, but it’s all coming from me spying on others.
      The long and short of it? SPYING WORKS, KEEP IT UP!
      We’re going to be so good at this, we’re going to be telling people off left and right!
      Don’t mess with Boston Street.

  4. Such a good and important reminder! Thank you, as always Mags, for starting of my weekend with another great way for me to continue to check myself. Love.

    • Daniel, thank you for commenting. I’m inspired by my friends who do this, and while I drill them for details on what they said and how the other person responded, I know that it really comes down to my need to people please. I love what one of my friends says, “I’m not going to be everyone’s favorite flavor of ice cream.”

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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