We now live in an era where every contradictory opinion or a tiny slip of the tongue is instantly touched by individuals, social media to such ridiculous levels of hysteria that mere explanation or justification of our decision and action is not enough.
Yet, suppressing our inner feelings and ideas would do a lot more damage to ourselves than it would if we decided to “shut it” and not actively participate in the madness and euphoria of it all.
Fikemi is a 23-year-old young woman with visual impairment and speech difficulties. When she was a child, she was only legally blind, with above-average intelligence- far superior to the intelligence of her peers. In childhood, Fikemi was often punished for expressing anger; neither was she given a chance to engage in a play or discussion with her sighted friends and neighbors.
When she took part in social activities and disagreed with something that she had heard, her mother would drag her aside by the collar of her dress and scold her not to “speak so loud again”, adding “they would never take you seriously because you are cannot see the things they do in this environment.”
This went on for years.
At 15, in primary 6, Fikemi grew increasingly anxious and suffered chronic depression. Unable to talk, eat or sleep, Fikemi completely shut down and would cry for hours. Afraid of the unknown, her mother took her to the hospital; but the doctor was unable to find out what was wrong with the teenage girl who was said to be in “great physiological health.”
Behold, overtime, Fikemi’s condition decomposed and went completely dumb- unable to speak.
Today, Fikemi is multiple-handicapped- incapable of seeing and speaking. Her love for relationships, for dialog, and music had gone completely away- thanks indeed to her mother who had trained her to be unassertive.
Fikemi’s mother was not aware of the distinction between recognizing anger and inappropriately expressing anger. Neither was she aware of the difference between expressing one’s unique beliefs and aggressively expressing disagreeing concerns.
Consequently, she punished both, causing many of Fikemi’s feelings to go underground and make her deteriorate cognitively and psychosocially.
There are many similar scenarios like that. As said in a previous article on assertiveness, unassertiveness does a meaningful amount of harm to individuals who have trouble speaking up, and expressing their own perspectives.
People have stopped trying. Individuals have become cynical about humanity. Unassertive persons have sunk into clinical depression because they not only feel muted, but they feel completely unloved and unaccepted.
Here are a few potential dangers of not having the courage to speak up, to strut up, to respectfully disagree, to validate your opinions amid a sea of others.
- Unassertiveness damages self-confidence. Nothing worthwhile can be achieved without a unique belief in your own uniqueness. Lack of courage for self-expression, for self-assertion, for self-affirmation and action destroys self-worth, self-esteem, self-efficacy. Assert yourself and build your self-confidence.
- Unassertiveness makes you feel less of a human: To feel like a true human being, it is essential to be assertive- in action, and in words, in deeds, in senses and perception, as well as in values and principles. one of the greatest innate capacities of man is a capability for self-expression- our ability to choose a path, a course of action, to determine our own destiny, and to stand up for ourselves when nobody can.
- Unassertiveness may cause functional ‘disability’: a functional disability may not be readily definable. A disability that is not explainable by any identifiable organic, bodily damage is said to be functional. Some individuals are awfully sick or impaired, but whose conditions are not pharmacologically diagnosed- doctors cannot just investigate the problem with them. Suppression of our feelings and lack of self-awareness could be a significant cause of functional disability or condition.
- Unassertiveness causes depression: Depression is an increasingly growing concern among all population segments- majorities and minorities, the higher class and the lower class, the disabled and non-disabled, teenagers and adolescents, including adults and elderlies. While the cause of depression is unknown, chronic inability to express our anger, our honest feelings can cause accumulation of ill-feelings and damaged self-esteem- entities that have been found to cause major depression in individuals.
- Unassertiveness makes an enormous loser: if you are not assertive and affirmative of your own opinions and feelings, you are going to be losing very big. You would lose deals, lose great friends, lost opportunities, and lose relationships that all should be leveraged for advancement.