So we made a sort of breakthrough this week: we figured out that 1) I can be assertive; and 2) that I am best at being assertive where such behavior can actually create change.
Assertive: Disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior
It has shown itself in a plethora of small ways: deciding to sell the car - and then deciding to ask twice what I was going to, and getting it. Making the decision I was going to go to the Highland Games - and going. Making decisions about what will be prioritized at work instead of patiently waiting for others to decide. Deciding what and when will be used for a gardening area.
All good. All empowering.
But we discovered a second thing as well: that assertiveness practiced in an atmosphere of hierarchy is counterproductive.
There is nothing more discouraging than making a decision or planning a course only to be overruled by someone else - especially when that someone has little idea of what is actually being discussed or is completely disconnected from the matter at hand. It turns assertiveness into a cauldron filled with resentment and anger as one's decision is unable to be acted upon - instead, one has to follow the dictates of someone that may have other knowledge (but never shares it) or is completely disconnected but feels the need to be "in control".
The solution? Simple yet difficult. If one does best in circumstances where one can act assertively, be in those situations. If the situation you are in does not allow you to do that, change your situation.
As I said, simple yet difficult. But is the difficulty really more than that which I currently endure: the crushing weight of being unable to make decisions (but having to execute everyone else's) and yet being expected to "take the initiative"?
If I can be assertive - and if I need to be assertive to move forward in my own life - then I simply need to accept that, ultimately, I need to put myself in those sorts of situations. My ability to grow may very well depend on it.