April 29, 2019
Which Brojo course does this reflection apply to?
Confrontations and Boundary Setting
What are the main insights you had about yourself in doing this course?
I know I keep saying this, but it was another reminder that my own instincts about how to deal with other people were correct and further proof of the damage done by over-riding those instincts and always backing down. The best example (the workplace bully) is the one we discussed in our call last year. My instinct there was to be assertive but compassionate instead of emotional or raging, and because I kept backing down the latter became more and more likely until finally it caused actual deep emotional pain to let him get the better of me by never pushing back AT ALL.
What actions did you take and how did you feel during those experiences?
I have actually been trying for nearly two years now to be more confrontational. On a base everyday level, simply being more assertive at work and arguing my case goes well most of the time. However sometimes (in 2018) I have "snapped" at people and have really tried (in 2019) to avoid that. Other times include: making a complaint in a hotel, which I think I overdid and made myself look a jerk; pushing back at my brother, which shocked people but which I have never had to do since, indicating that my boundaries were respected as a result of pushing back. I have also started to attend practical self-defence classes, although they are irregular. I don't feel entirely comfortable with the physical aspects of this but feel it is necessary to have this string to my bow. One of the reasons I never did anything about the situation in Q3 above was that he was prepared to be physically violent (or at least clearly violate my physical boundaries) and I was not.
What is the one main thing you want to remember from this course and keep applying to your life?
That confrontations do not have to be about winning but about respecting yourself. This seems so fundamental to living, really: who can truly respect someone who does not even fight for what they stand for, regardless of whether or not they "win". Again I am reminded of things from younger days: at university I studied a lot of the US Civil Rights movement and was never convinced that black America "won" in the medium or long term, but only an arsehole would not admire and respect the fight for civil rights.
What can you do to ensure that what you learned from this course continues to improve your life?
It sounds so trite, but to keep asserting myself and fighting for my beliefs/what I think I am capable of. It just feels like it should not be such a big task by now. In simple terms it's just "being a man" and I'm still infuriated that others, including many less able or blessed, found that easier than I did. I think this residual self-reproach explains why sometimes I get snappy instead of assertive.
What was your favourite part of the course?
The Day 2 focus on mistakes, especially how holding back leads to "puking" and stress over little things is due to not speaking up over important things. Again, because it chimed with things I had already worked out for myself and confirmed I am on the right track.
Which part of the course did you find the most difficult, confusing or unhelpful?
I had no such criticism of the content.
Overall, how do you rate this course?
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