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There Be Dragons: Hiding behind politeness to avoid discomfort

Do you hide behind politeness to avoid discomfort?

The potential for each of us to block the opportunity to share moments of intimacy are numerous. Sadly, avoiding intimacy is more common than allowing ourselves to take the risk of being real with people. I have often noticed how people avoid discomfort by hiding behind politeness.

Unconsciously we may attempt to protect ourselves from imaginary fears, based upon unsubstantiated beliefs. It is rather like the old maps that in unexplored lands had “There be Dragons” written, to deter people exploring them. Many explorers avoided going where there could be dragons, and the new lands remain unexplored. This is a human trait, especially in the realm of belief; once we have a belief, we subconsciously seek information to support it, and avoid accepting new information that does not fit the belief system.

Emotional Assertiveness gives us tools to explore with a level of safety our feelings and belief’s and find ways to open new horizons for ourselves.

This is especially important in the context of our relationships. We each develop patterns of establishing relationships, as sometimes, these patterns are defective. We are drawn to some people and feel like avoiding others, based upon old belief’s, often a part of our primitive defences, that may have been helpful in the past, but are no longer relevant. Sadly, unless we notice the tendency to see the “There be Dragons” signs we keep repeating the old patterns and thereby reinforce them.

We may adopt either a settler or a pioneer attitude to life. Neither is better than the other, it all depends upon what you want from life. Settlers, find a place, put down roots, build a farm, raise a family and are happy. Often however, a part of socialisation can involve over-adapting to the collective view of how to behave and how to be with others. Social control often pressurises us to avoid being ourselves and to be ‘polite’ i.e. not to rock the status quo.

Pioneers often tend to be more confrontational, more willing to challenge norms and establish new ways of doing things. They seek to broaden their scope, establish new trends. They may be labelled brash, or rude, by the social pressures of the time, but they also help society to develop and grow, making way for change and inclusivity. In many ways, settlers and pioneers are not so very different, they just have different ways of engaging in social activities.

Being polite is not a problem, when living near others; showing awareness of the boundaries, being respectful of others is an essential for a healthy community. Being willing to confront, and challenge norms is not a problem, it can be very helpful to society to keep examining beliefs and rules. However, confrontation can be offered respectfully, and politely, without seeking to offer offence.

Pioneer, settler, or a mix of each, Emotional Assertiveness helps us to become healthy in our interactions with others. Neither hiding behind politeness nor challenge, by paying attention to our emotions and using our ability to think clearly, we can find safe ways to push the boundaries of our experience.

Why not discover more about Emotional Assertiveness?

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