Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Assertive vs. Meek: The Winner Is…?


Assertive vs. Meek

It sounds like a boxing match, with assertive highly favored over meek, doesn’t it? Hmmm – This is not always the case. It depends upon the situation. There are times when assertive behavior is appropriate. For example: Speaking up for the unborn gives voice for those who would otherwise not be heard. Being assertive in this instance would be a good thing. However, there are times when it is best to be meek, rather than assertive.

To be assertive actually means one is self-confident, self-assured and firm. However, the word has taken on a surly meaning when a person uses assertiveness to be forceful, pushy or aggressive. When acting in the former, being assertive is appropriate. When acting in the latter, meekness would be a better avenue to take.

Meekness is not being weak, shy, or quiet as a mouse for fear of offending someone. No, meekness is accepting diversity of thought through the exhibition of docility in communicating with others. Meekness requires inner strength. At times it means that we bear the pain of unjust criticism or suffering for the glory of God.

As a blogger, there are times when I post something that a reader goes off the deep end on and starts to rail at me. The forceful, pushy, aggressive behavior of the reader who insults me, my writing, and my faith will go unanswered by me. I could easily meet assertive behavior with assertive behavior. Trust me, as an auditor with 23 + years of experience (in my past life), I know how to go toe-to-toe with the best! However, in this instance of blogging, meekness is the better road to take. The assertive person railing on me is making a fool of himself in public. He doesn’t need any additional help from me. It is more important that I respect his thoughts, even if he won’t respect mine. It’s more important that I communicate with docility so as to not inflame the situation. It means that I bear the pain of criticism for the glory of God.

So, in the end, it is not a matter of winning or losing. It is a matter of knowing when it is appropriate to be assertive and when to be meek; when to be firm and when to let go.

Meekness – Where Does It Get You? That’s what we will discuss in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!

This post also appears on www.catholicbloggersnetwork.com and www.topcatholicblogs.com.

6 Responses to Assertive vs. Meek: The Winner Is…?

  • GREAT blog post, my friend. Love your line, “meekness requires inner strength.”

  • One time St. Francis went to the front door of a bishop’s house to ask if it would be okay to preach in his diocese. The bishop abruptly told him no and told him to go away. St. Francis went around to the back door and humbly asked again and this time the bishop was moved by his simplicity and perseverence and said yes. St. Francis was assertive and at the same time he willingly further humbled himself before the bishop and this was the way to his heart. Like it is the humility of Jesus which opens our hearts to him.

  • Thank you for helping shed light on this highly misunderstood topic! This is helping me so much in my scripture study. I didn’t like how the antonym for meekness was assertiveness in the dictionary, and thats when I decided to look deeper online and found your blog. Wonderful.

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