“How do I assert myself as a man without coming across as too forceful?” – Carl, Washington DC
This is a critical question at this moment in time. Many men, especially young men come to me with this dilemma — how can I be assertive and confident, without being aggressive and arrogant?
Assertiveness is a dialogue that allows for input from others. Aggression is a debate — exerting power to protect oneself.
Power dynamics and what it means to be in control has changed over time. If power was once hierarchical for your father or grandfather, it now lies in one’s ability to take input from others. Manhood has traditionally been predicated on a sense of autonomy and self reliance. Today, men are embracing a realm of emotions and the benefits of interdependence vs. a forced sense of independence.
So, shift the way you think about compromise and collaboration, and welcome dialogue. Asserting yourself with confidence will come from being open to input. You’ll be surprised by how much power comes from conversation.
Have you struggled to walk this line? I would love to hear your thoughts.