Why is Compassionate Assertiveness needed?


Published: 1 Feb 2018

Compassionate Assertiveness


It’s needed because people don’t get to just blurt communication at you that doesn’t feel right to you. They don’t get to behave how they want. You are the only person to show others how you want to be communicated TO.

I call this corrective coaching. It is based on my concept of the ‘Emotional Ping’. If you get an incoming emotional ping – “Ouch, that was harsh.” “Ouch,  that made me feel incompetent.” “Ouch, that was you forcing your opinion on me.” “Ouch that was rude.”

Sounds harsh? Then do nothing and know that you invited it in, so you accepted it. If people don’t receive an emotional ping back from you there is no learning, no corrective coaching for them.

There will be people who say, well, why is it my job to coach them? Good question. And, if you think it isn’t then do nothing – this would also be compassionately assertive – having the ability to just let it go without judgement or moralisation.

Feeding a kitten is a really great analogy for communication. Every day you do things you really don’t want to do and you invite stuff (behaviour, words, actions) into your life – so by default you accepted it!

One sunny day a kitten arrives on your doorstep. You are allergic to kittens, you don’t have time to feed the kitten, but through guilt, goodwill, no thought of the future – you feed it anyway.

So. Why wouldn’t it come back again the next time it’s hungry or in your neighbourhood?

It managed to get what it wanted from you once before.

Guess what?

You now have a kitten – congratulations!

It seemed ok the first couple of times – even though you felt taken advantage of, didn’t really need or want a kitten, and now you have a whole new set of problems added to the original kitten acceptance.

a. you now have to find time to feed the kitten

b. you have to find the funds to support feeding the kitten

c. you have extra chores – you now have a bowl to wash and shopping for cat food

d. once one kitten knows, word gets around!

It sounds funny – but this happens in communication all the time.

You think its a simple compliance, or agreement, but it sends a powerful message that this is an option for them to ask again.

You don’t speak up when you should have – you just let them know that it’s ok with you.

You accept disrespect and do nothing – be prepared for the long game now because it’s never going away.

And the biggest illusion of all?

You think it will be QUICKER to let it go, say nothing, do nothing, go along with it……..and then spend the next few hours, days, months,even years living with the consequences of that.

Still want to feed the kitten?


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