Do you have trouble speaking up and expressing yourself? Do you find yourself at times shying away from conflict? Do you tend to agree with others or say ‘yes’ to things to please them, even if it means sacrificing your wants and needs? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you likely struggle with assertiveness! Unfortunately, I think assertiveness tends to be perceived with a negative lens. I sometimes believe assertive and aggressive behaviours are mistaken for each other, which causes us to shy away from this. In reality, these two communication styles are very different (and I will cover that today!) As we enter the holiday season, your ability to be assertive might be more difficult than usual. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you might lose sight of your own needs and shy away from conflict for the sake of others- especially if you’re surrounded by family and friends. For some people, the holidays are a time of immense joy, and happiness; but for others, it can be a time of stress, loneliness, and sadness. For example, you might be anxious or stressed by the thought of dealing with comments from family members/friends about your weight, your relationship status, or how little/how much you eat at holiday gatherings. The good thing is, assertiveness is a skill that can be learned, and you don’t need to sit through or accept uncomfortable comments or situations that come your way this holiday season. There is a way to be effectively assertive whilst also being gracious and having self-respect! My goal today is to shed some light on what assertiveness is (and what it isn’t) and to give you the tools you need to develop and strengthen this skill so that you can navigate different experiences and potential challenges this holiday season!
Recently, I worked through an early childhood traumatic experience that involved gift-giving. For the longest time, I couldn’t pinpoint why receiving gifts from my mother throughout my life felt off. Through my personal EMDR therapy, I realized that my response to gift-giving had been ingrained in me as a trauma response. In the absence of emotional availability during a traumatic time in her life, my mom leaned into gift-giving in lieu of her emotional availability. I was processing this unmet need when this new insight about receiving gifts from her surfaced. I realized why it had always bothered me. It felt like buying my affection, and as a result, felt as if I owed something back. Since processing this experience with EMDR, I had a deeper understanding into the reasons behind it. I finally knew exactly WHY. Gift-giving can feel good. But sometimes, it’s a trauma response. When this happens, it takes away from how meaningful a gift can be and all the feel-good benefits that come with it. This season, we’re looking into moving away from excessive gift-giving as a trauma response and leaning into gift-giving as a tool for healing, authentic connection, and fostering healthy relationships that center generosity, gratitude, and empathy.
Vulnerability doesn’t just show up accidentally in your relationships. It’s a value you choose to prioritize intentionally. It’s something you build and nourish. So it’s a skill set that requires deliberate steps. Vulnerability is about being open, unguarded, exposed, and unarmed. It is challenging to be vulnerable when living with unhealed trauma. The emotional wounds that haven’t fully healed interfere with vulnerability and make it difficult. For this reason, being intentional with it is crucial. It also takes courage to be vulnerable in the face of adversity and internalized fear. This is for you if you value intimate close connections but struggle with trust and the fear of rejection. This is an invitation to find the courage to be vulnerable.
There’s a good chance that when you hear the word intimacy, you’d probably think about physical and sexual intimacy. I think most people would. But intimacy isn’t limited to these two types. It is also emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. In a world where we’re most “connected” in various ways, we’re the most alone because the tools of our connection lack true intimacy. Nothing highlights this more than the aloneness and isolation you can feel during the holidays. Today we’re delving into artificial intimacy: What it means, its impact, and how you can shift from it into more authentic intimacy as you move through this upcoming holiday season.
Undoubtedly, unresolved emotional conflicts and unhealed trauma wounds impact your relationship with yourself and others. This effect can have many faces and show up in various ways. One of the most common ways it can show up is when you keep having the same fight over and over. This pattern can happen in any type of relationship involving intimacy. Intimacy in relationships is about having closeness, feeling supported and cared for, and being emotionally connected. You can have intimacy with romantic partners, friends, and family. When you look at intimacy and closeness beyond the sexual undertones of it, you can start to see how it’s a cornerstone of any healthy relationship, regardless of its type. Today, we’re highlighting why you might find yourself stuck in having the same argument, conflict, or fight, especially with your intimate partner(s). And what you can do about it. You can also generalize this information to other types of relationships in your life.
We’re in a season of transformation, growth, and rebirth. The fall season is here, reminding us of this. Growth goes hand in hand with our ability to trust the unknown. We need courage for this type of trust. Come along to witness Iman’s journey of navigating motherhood and making tough choices during the COVID-19 pandemic, so her children can thrive.