Today, I logged onto Facebook and saw something really appalling. And, as an assertiveness teacher, it especially bothered me.
You’ll see why shortly.
But before I move into teaching from the situation, I want to say something…
I’m an extremely positive person. I used to be highly reactive and over-reactive – to the point I used to hurt others and not care. There was a lot going on inside of me back then I didn’t understand that it took me years to deal with. But even through that time, my Mom says my emails to her and my positivity in my writing shone through – I don’t know how, but it did.
This is my general disposition in life – I don’t mind a very healthy debate with someone intellectual who has facts and isn’t just spouting off their opinions, and I certainly know that everything can’t be all roses all the time.
There’s a middle ground, which largely resembles what I’m going to address today – those things that feel very very negative, yet offer us a grand opportunity to learn a great deal from it.
I’m here to help us do that with this topic today.
So back to Facebook. When I logged on, this is what I saw posted on Author, Brene Brown’s wall:
She had a graphic made & wrote the note, “I did not write these books. It’s not my work. We’re doing everything we can.”
In true, quaintrelle-like class & style, Brene Brown showed up in a truly compassionate & empathetic, yet direct way to address this conundrum.
What you’re looking at is #1, a mockery to one of my favorite authors of ALL time – Brene Brown.
#2, it’s an act of aggression, and I’ll explain why.
#3, it’s someone’s attempt to express themselves in a very unhealthy way – hearing me say “not something I would recommend” is an understatement.
On Mocking an Author
Let’s just start here, shall we? This is a mockery, not only to Brene Brown, but to her publishing company, her family, and most of all, her work’s essence. It’s incredible work to get a book deal, first of all, and then to actually have your books published is a huge deal – this is why I haven’t written my first book yet.
Mocking an author and the work they’ve done isn’t cute, and it’s not acceptable. I have read her work, specifically Daring Greatly, and it’s a phenomenal read. [That’s an affiliate link, and yes, I’m directing you to her book because you need to know what she actually writes about.]
I think enough has been said here – mockery isn’t flattering.
That brings me to #2.
On Acts of Aggression
The first thing that caught my attention was “ASSERTIVENESS” in big huge cap-sized letters because this is my specialty – it’s what I teach. Forget paradox – this is flat out oxymoronic. Here, you have this person who is performing an act of aggression, while simultaneously using “assertiveness” in the scheme. I thought, “wow, unbelievable gall and lack of knowledge exists here.”
In this post, I talked a lot about aggression. The way I teach aggression is that it’s a call for help – people who are very aggressive sometimes don’t realize that they are. They often have deep-seated, un-attended-to issues or deep emotional pain they aren’t dealing with that can manifest itself in many different ways – in this case, mockery.
Others do know they’re acting aggressively, but don’t care who they hurt – this is a complete lack of empathy, and Brene talks about it all over & through her work. “We’re not going to do this perfectly” is my all-time favorite line by her with regard to empathetic behavior. But this particular situation is not someone “not doing empathy perfectly”, it’s a deliberate act of aggression. I want you to see the difference.
I want to stress this to us – this is not an act of assertiveness and “bold” behavior to be given “props” of any kind – it’s a direct act of aggression and should not be tolerated.
Period, and then some.
But why is it aggressive? Some people may really not understand why I’m saying that. Here are 3 clear signs of aggression you need to watch out for:
- Mockery or manipulation is involved – I’ve experienced this more than a million times in life. This is a person who feels like they have to manipulate or imitate a situation or someone else in order to be seen or recognized. A clear aggression sign. The woman who will do everything in her power to “look” and “appear” a certain way to others, knowing she isn’t that person or doesn’t have what she’s pretending to.
- Another person is deeply hurt in a negative way, not resembling when positive criticism shows up, where the person is challenged to be a better version of themselves.
- The individual has to hide their identity. My Papa used to be a very aggressive man, and I’ll leave it at that. A lot of people don’t know this about him because he wanted to hide who he truly was from people all those years. Aggressive people tend to hide their identities and don’t want/need the attention put on their need to change AT ALL. I know people like this right now, do you? These are people who don’t want to change – they will stick their feet in the mud at any cost, even when it would benefit their whole entire family to suck up their apathy & pride. They have made the deliberate decision that it’s more painful to heal than to hurt.
Aggression isn’t always loud.
Let me say that again – aggression isn’t always loud. It’s not always someone flailing their arms around or ripping phone cords out of the wall or yelling at you. Sometimes it’s silent. And the silent aggression is deadly. It kills the emotionally weak and un-educated.
But for you, you aren’t going to be that person, and I’m going to make SURE of it! The strong and the educated of us are the ones who see right through that apathy, and choose empathy every time. We see you for what you are. We know it. We recognize it. And it’s not okay. And if you can ever get past your own pride, we actually want to help you heal.
I use these types of situations to teach you, so you can recognize the difference in these 4 dominant communication styles:
- Passive Aggressive
There’s nothing assertive about what this person is doing with Brene’s work. Nothing at all. It’s not assertive living, it’s aggressive living.
On Expression and Aggression
“I did not write these books. It’s not my work. We’re doing everything we can.”
What a gorgeous, assertive expression from this teacher I admire. She’s directly responding, but in a way that you feel the empathy underneath her disappointment. I can feel her hurting for this person.
“We’re doing everything we can” to me, is Brene’s way of addressing the deeper-seated issue she knows, as a teacher, is there. She recognizes it for what it is, and she’s addressing it empathetically. She’s letting everyone (and this person) know through this expression of herself and her work, that she’s doing everything she can to help humanity and all of us – in a way that feels authentic for her.
Her own public comment on her Facebook post reads:
“This is so frustrating. If you were swindled out of your money, I’m sorry. We really are doing everything we can. It’s especially difficult for me with the book on spirituality. Not my work. Not my beliefs.”
Here’s what I want to emphasize:
When it comes to self-expression, we all need to know and understand that we each have our own opinions and belief systems that drive our expressions. In that vein, self-expression is a manifestation of what you believe in that moment. And what you believe in that moment may not be what you believe in 3 days or 3 hours, but whatever you express in that moment, is an outward emphasis of what’s authentically underneath.
Whatever this person was feeling when he/she did this is a direct expression of what’s going on beneath the surface. They may carry it for years or they may already feel terribly guilty about it.
But aggression and expression work together, even if it’s silent (which this wasn’t) – as long as this person carries the aggressive hurt around, it will manifest and often, hurt others.
The very nature of self-expression is that it’s a confirmation of our individual worth, and this person doesn’t feel worthy for some reason. I’m not sure what it’s about without spending time with the person, but I do have compassion.
In that compassion though, I have to prayerfully ask that they search themselves and go deeper to discover their own expression that isn’t tied to aggression or mockery.
I would’ve preferred see this person write about their anger in losing their book deal (assuming that’s what happened) in their own personal blog – as an assertiveness specialist, I would’ve supported that expression as wholesome, as long as they didn’t also feel the need to rip anyone up publicly in that anger. I would’ve supported them expressing what they feel within themselves and immediately offering up what they planned to do next – something to show us that they were going to directly deal with the disappointment and pain from it, even if they didn’t know how yet.
Now, I’d love to hear from you…
Do you see something here I missed or do you have an opinion? Please share below, if so. You know I love topics like this!
Thank you for reading and being here….
(Image was pulled from here).