How to be more assertive part 1

Do you have challenges being assertive? I do, many times.  I think it come from the fact that in my culture, respect is king. And people in authority and older people are the top dogs, who must be respected. My father would get upset and borderline aggressive if one dared to articulate an opinion that was contrary to his. He still tries that sometimes, even now when I'm an adult married woman. I am more assertive towards him, but the very process robs me of my strength. I find that I struggle with assertiveness with people in positions of authority, and I also feel guilty and sometimes when I am assertive in other situations as I am afraid that people won't like me. I don't know if anyone can identify with me!
I don't think it's necessarily or always about lack of self confidence. Sometime, I just chose not to be assertive and rationalize that I won't waste my energy on people who won't get it, but then I get upset and can't explain why to myself.

I'm on a journey this year to increase my level of assertiveness. I will be sharing my plans and how successful I am or not. If you are having issues with assertiveness as well, please leave a comment below and let's learn from each other and support each other.

First and foremost, let's take a step back and find out what assertiveness is.

Assertiveness is the ability to stand up for ourselves and to say how we feel when we feel we need to. This includes, 

  • Expressing your own opinion and feelings.
  • Being able to say "no" without feeling guilty.
  • Setting your own priorities i.e. choosing how you spend your time.
  • Asking for what you want.
  • Being able to take reasonable risks.
  • Choosing not to assert yourself at times when you feel it would be better not to say anything.

Assertiveness  shows that we respect ourselves and other people, and place our own desires and needs where they should be. 

Lack of assertiveness can cause stress, depression and anxiety and lead to feelings of self blame.  People who do not assert themselves fail to get their due,and also tend to feel bad about themselves. 

Here are a few typical problems caused by lack of assertiveness.

  • Saying "yes" to requests for favours from friends and relatives, no matter how unfair the requests are.
  • Begin afraid to return damaged goods or point out poor service in shops and restaurants.
  • Difficulty expressing positive feelings i.e. giving compliments.

  • A fear of being criticised by others.
  • A fear of people in authority.
  • The first step to solving a problem is realizing you have a problem. Do you have a challenge with being assertive? Own the problem, and join me on this journey. 

Discover your strengths.

Do you know what your strengths are? Many times we focus on our weaknesses instead of capitalizing on our strengths.

Don't get me wrong focusing on certain weaknesses with the aim of improving them can certainly be a good thing, however, there are certain weak areas where we need to just accept that we will never be able to convert them to strengths, so we can free space in our lives in order to focus on the things that matter and that we can actually do well.

Of course not everyone has the freedom to do a complete 180 degree turn in terms of career, but many times we delude ourselves into thinking that doing the same thing that has brought disappointing results over and over will give us different results. Life is too short to spend it on frustrating ventures and careers that are less than fulfilling.

Often, not capitalizing on our strengths when it relates to our jobs and occupations is the reason why we are unable to make significant headway, or even if we are successful doing what we do, we might not have a deep inner satisfaction. We spend too many of our waking hours working as adults that it is important to be engaged in activities that not only pay the bills, but also give us a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

2014 is just starting off and here's a brand new opportunity to leverage your strengths. Before embarking on that new project or business, before looking for a new job or accepting that offer, before throwing up your hands in despair, let me ask you again - what are your strengths? Knowing your strengths is knowing yourself and how well your know yourself is directly related to how self assured you are and how successful your interactions with others.
What are your weaknesses? You need to consciously know them to stop wasting time on those areas.

How can you find out what your strengths are? Take 10 minutes to think on the following

1) Are there any activities that you find yourself losing track of time when engaging in those activities?
2) Have you been surprised by any activity that gave you an unexpected burst of energy?

3) What activities rob you of emotional and mental energy?

Book recommendation:- Now, discover your strengths.

Homework:- Have a chat with someone who knows you and whom you can trust for an unbiased opinion on your strengths and weaknesses.

Quick and healthy meals for kids: Introducing"What's cooking!?!"

Introducing the series on quick to prepare, nutritious meals that will have your kids asking for more: What's cooking!!!
I will be sharing tried and tested recipes that have passed the tough controls of big sister and my not-so-little-anymore baby E.
Today's recipe is the Winter potato soup.
Recipe history: this recipe was born out of desperation, one Saturday in early autumn when I had no clue what to feed the kids for lunch with lunch time fast approaching. I wanted them to have a hearty lunch and I was desperate for something different from the usual pasta or steamed potato etc.

I have made this soup using different types of vegetables. It's a good way to use left over boiled potatoes, and adding the vegetables helps you pack some extra vitamins in too.
.It's quick and simple to make, if you are using pre boiled potatoes, you only need 10 minutes or so. I have made a short video about how I make my winter potato soup. Guten appetite!!

What's cooking

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Shout out to good daddies

I came across the Daddy Doing Work blog via a post on the Good Men project Facebook page. Apparently, the photo below went viral.

I follow lots of mothering blogs and pages, but this is the first time I have been made aware of the also large ( it seems) community of daddy bloggers out there. It's awesome that there are men out there who are comfortable enough with their masculinity to be hands on dads. I think most men find it fulfilling, and more would find it fulfilling, once they break out of the boxes that society has put parenting into.

My DH wore our babies in the baby ties and carriers and can be quite a hands on dad. He does think he's pretty special when hanging out with the kids, lol, but who cares? My children know that they have a loving dad who would give the world for them. My daughter told me a couple of years ago
" ich bin Papa's Sonnenenschein und Mama's Schatz"
" I'm Papa's Sunshine and Mama's treasure". She sounded so secure when she said that that it warmed my heart.

So go on doing your things, Daddies!I wish that every kid grows up knowing that they are loved and cherished by their parents, not just mummies alone.

Happy new year!

On a more serious note, I am thankful to God to be able to see 2014. The kids are a year older and the juggle is getting easier.
Here's to a fulfilling and productive year ahead!

Let’s talk about how much TV children should be watching

How much TV consumption is deemed health for children varies across cultures. As a mum raising bicultural kids in Germany, my thoughts ...