“I can’t seem to ever be comfortable with confrontation, no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I know that I need to, I am just not a dominant person. I wish I were stronger,” says Denise.
“What makes you think dominance is the same as strength? How many people do you know who are dominant, pushy, confrontational, who pride themselves on being the loudest person in the room? So many are closed-minded and only make space for their own perspective and viewpoint. They seem to need to shove out anyone else’s opinion or perspective. I know a lot of people who have no problem being aggressive and pushy. However, when you describe strength, to me you are describing power. Power is the ability to move energy toward a desired goal. People who are dominant are not necessarily powerful. Dominance is not synonymous with intelligence, emotional agility, open-mindedness or an ability to relate to others. Without these qualities the dominance becomes a liability and impediment to power,” I retort.
Denise looks at me with a mix of wonder, gratitude and relief. “My whole life I have beaten myself up for not being stronger because I can’t be dominant, I can’t be confrontational. Now you are saying this doesn’t make me weak at all?” she asks.
“Look, you’re not comfortable with confrontation. It’s your personality and it probably will always be that way. I spend a lot of my session time working on assertiveness but hardly ever do I ask people to be outright confrontational if that is their style. The trick is to protect your energy and your viewpoint and don’t get pulled into draining yourself out to someone. It takes a concerted effort to not disappear in the face of people who want to erase you. Don’t give your power away. All these things can be accomplished without loud or overt conflict. The thing to remember is, you are strong in your own unique way. You are careful in how you interact with people, you are conscientious, thoughtful, intelligent, graceful and you have integrity. That is strength. You’ll have more success manifesting your strength in a way that is natural than trying to be something you are not,” I say.
“Wow. I feel stronger already. I don’t feel like I am going to be overpowered anymore by loud and dominating people. I can just sit back and with the knowledge that I am strong in ways they could never be,” she says.
“Sometimes that is the best form of strength, the one that is quietly watching and processing, maneuvering through the moving parts of a situation. Stay focused on that and believe me, you won’t be dominated for long,” I respond.