Reflective Writing Tips
a) Describe one recent example where you attempted to be assertive and were successful in expressing yourself in an assertive manner.
There was a situation when I tried to persuade my parents that I have grown up and can make my own decisions. My parents thought that they should pick a college for me to study, and I was angry about that. So, I decided to be assertive and talk to them with respect and understanding. My assertiveness has worked and they believed that I am a mature person who can make right decisions and behave wisely. I insisted on my right to go to the college of my choice. I did not belittle the role of parents in my life and showed respect to them. At the same time, I tried to deliver the thought that I am old enough to choose my profession. In that case, my assertiveness was successful without getting into an argument with my parents. I wish that all people were as understanding and respectful as my parents. I really appreciate the role they play in my life, and I always avoid arguing with them.
b) Describe one recent example where you attempted but failed to be assertive in expressing yourself.
I tried to be assertive with my best friend about choosing the perfect birthday present for another friend, but I failed. I tried to persuade him that the best present would have been an interesting book of a famous author. Yet, my friend would not agree with my opinion. I gave a lot of reasons why a book is the best present, but he did not listen to me. At first, we wanted to give him a collective present, but when our opinions started being at issue, we bought separate presents. Eventually, I bought him short stories of Ernest Hemingway, and my friend bought a T-shirt. My assertiveness did not work that time. However, I still think that my idea was better because a book is kept for ages, and items of clothes are quickly worn down. I did not try to look smarter or better than my friend, I just wanted what is best. Moreover, I did not want to ruin our friendship because of the difference in opinions.
c) Describe one recent example where you at first acted non-assertively, recognized this, intervened and acted assertively.
I was doing a part-time job at the supermarket. My responsibilities included working as a checkout cashier from 4 till 8 p.m. Due to the fact that I study at college, I could not work every day because I had to combine the job with my study. My boss often asked me to work extra hours for no payment. It became a habit that I stayed at work till 10 or even 11 p.m. I was completely non-assertive because I needed that job for living. That is why I did not insist on my rights to be paid for working extra hours. One day my friend told me that I was being treated unfairly and that I had to do something. I thought about this for a while and realized that I was being non-assertive. I decided to talk to my boss and demand to be given payment for extra hours, or to be free to go at 8 p.m. My boss listened to me and agreed to free me from working extra hours. He probably did not want to pay me extra money. That situation made me realize that if I am not OK with something, I have to be more persistent.
d) Describe one recent example where you acted aggressively.
There are several recent examples where I acted aggressively. There was a situation in a shop when I got into an argument with a man in a queue. He tried to persuade me that he has to go before me because he had been standing in a line longer than me. His lies caused my aggression and I started to call him names and insult him. Yet, all that gave no result until some woman near me asked him politely to take his place in a line. The man was very furious after arguing with me, but eventually he agreed that he was wrong. Such people like him think that they can treat others unfairly and no one will say a word. In that case, however, a queue was really long and I was in a hurry, so I just could not help acting aggressively. I did not apologize to that man because I thought I was right in that situation. Maybe, I should not have addressed him rudely, but I am a hot-tempered person, so I cannot deal with such situations calmly.
e) Describe one recent example where you began acting aggressively, recognized this, intervened and acted assertively.
Despite I am a hot-tempered person, sometimes I realize that it is not quite right to behave so aggressively with people. For me, it is easier to insult a stranger than someone close to me or at least somebody I know. That is why I always try to control my emotions when I talk to people I care about. There was a situation when I got into an argument with my cousin. He wanted to persuade me that I was not living my life to the full. He told me I should go to night clubs and have fun every day as long as I am young. It drove me crazy and I started acting aggressively. I do not like when people teach me how to live my life. It always infuriates me and I start defending myself at the expense of other people’s dignity. In the middle of our argument, I realized that there is no way I can change his opinion, so I just stopped being aggressive in order to save our friendly relationship.
f) Discuss what you learned about yourself having addressed this exercise.
While writing answers to this exercise, I learned some things about myself. It made me think over my behavior in unpleasant situations, and I realized that when something is unfair, I do not have to be silent about it. It is better to act assertively and try to convince others that you are right than to be aggressive and make useless efforts to change somebody’s mind. Assertiveness is a good quality for a person, but everyone must know the limit between it and simple aggression. There are such people who are not able to accept that they are wrong, and they persist on their opinion till the other person gives up. Stubbornness is not the same thing as assertiveness. I realized that in most cases polite attitude and respect to the interlocutor are the determining factors for warm relationship.