boys boxing in the river

Self Assertion

The feelings that formed in us in childhood have shaped our way of being in relationships. Now, as adults, we still carry that initial trigger event. As vulnerable children we’ve all struggled with someone stronger than us. At that stage we didn’t know how to stand our ground against them. So we each developed patterns in relationships in order to survive – it may be that we always are accommodating and pleasing. We may choose to withdraw, avoid and hide ourselves, or we may have become defensive and aggressive in order to maintain our ground.

As we see what different people did to put us on our back foot and take away our voice, deep emotions resurface. In order not to be held back by our earlier patterns, we now need to come to a place where for better or worse we say what we need to say to them and stop playing that game any longer.

As we articulate our truth and see that what happened wasn’t our fault, we can release ourselves from the bind we’ve lived in. We are probably not going to be able to change the other, nor to expect them to understand fully, but it’s freeing to see what took us away from ourselves. It is a risk to begin to shift our centre where others’ opinions were put first and to stop apologising for our feelings and to start to stand true to ourselves. This may churn us up so it’s something that we need to practice slowly. Hopefully the way we assert ourselves can become more creative and authentic in the future, freeing us to stop playing those relational games we’ve engaged in for so long.

This reflection was written by Elizabeth Milandri from Monday’s session on Self Assertion, which was lead by Sergio Milandri. Please visit for more details.

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