sábado, 31 de mayo de 2008




We live in a culture where "yes" is stronger than "no". "Yes" is associated to kindness, understanding and tolerance, while the "no" refers to rejection, selfishness and untolerance. We teach service, helpness and generosity as fundamental values to mankind and we overlook those who are opposite, or those who reject or protest. The right of setting a posture or express our disagreement is not well seen in our society, at least for those who want to follow what has been established.

This way of always "agree with everything" and avoid disagreements, has created the philosophy of meekness. We admire submission and silence: to low our head is a simbol of "loveness" even when the want to cut it off. We missunderstood simpleness with submission, and it´s not the same. The person who is humble, sometimes bows, but doesn´t break. It´s humble until his values are touched, because, humbleness has a limit: Personal Dignity.

The culture of submission, reaches for two goals. On one hand, tries to calm or be glad to others (fear). And on the other hand, to be able to feel "good and clean". Nonetheless, kindness is not self punishment, because love always has to begin in our own house, "love others, as you love yourself". We could have respect to each other, only when we have attained self respect.

Nobody, denies that others are more important than ourselves, and if we have love, we could even give our lives for one another, if needed. But, we have to keep our dignity at high stakes, understand that even in the most altruist acts of our lives, we have to be dignified. We could acknowledge our failures, but without loosing self respect. (self worth is very important)

I´m not preaching here about being unsensible and greedy when it comes to stand for our personal rights. But, to say "no", to have the right to express my disagreement, to be opposite sometimes, to get angry and express it, and to be steady in what I believe. Obviously, all of those, without tresspassing the rights of others. It´s is simply having the freedom of moving in the territory of my own values, and at the same time be compassive. If I deal with my principles and values, what´s left of me then?

When we say "yes" instead of "no" in a non negotiable circumstance, something displeasable happens inside us. Something breaks. We have this kind of shame, we avoid mirrors and our insight becomes unbearable. And when we go to sleep, it´s only left the unpleaseant flavor of thinking: why didn´t I said no?

In so many times we are unable to deffend from abusive people. We tend to be quiet, even though we are dying inside. In other situation, avoiding to say "no" may be fatal (like in the case when we can´t say no to drugs).

Being assertive is to be able to deffend our personal rights, without violating the rights of others. Assertiveness is self affirmation and honorability to ourselves. Is an act of self esteem. It´s to set that love is not submissive obedience, specially when our values and self respect are being violated.

We have to learn too, to let it go, if the ocassion has no importance at all (you don´t want to become a rebel without a cause). But when it come to fundamentals, you should say what you really think and feel. Express it. With respect and empathy, and even with a smile (if you can still do it), but don´t be quiet. The art of being assertive is the hability of balancing the rights and duties without entanglement. It´s a complex science, in which we create a respectful site of mutual inhabitance within respect, when everybody is ok, but you are ok too.

Always be prepared
to give an answer to everyone
who asks you to give a reason
for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness
and respect.

(1 Peter 3:15).

by Henry Leguizamo

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