Strong personalities are hardly challenged—because they are hard to challenge. We must confront ourselves to confront the other person. It’s because we are gentler of spirit, perhaps; they seem bold, maybe too bold.
And still we will wonder why the stronger personality gets away with what they do. Why do they do it? Why doesn’t someone challenge their audacious quest for and arrangement of power?
Some are enigmatic, seemingly prepared for the remotest of verbal tussle. Others are brilliantly charismatic, getting away with blue murder. Others, again, blow in an out of the lives they confront. Some, finally, stay too long, encumbering us immensely, and to the point of fatigue or, worse, despair.
There is certainly a stench of narcissism in these, even as there is little doubt we all share in our personal waft of mirror-gazing self-interest.
Containing Ourselves In Poise
We grapple as much as our minds will allow. Our goal in dealing with a strong personality is to gently, though insistently, hold our established ground.
Our process, then, must deal with confrontation. How are we to harmonise the feeling of being confronted? This is not about the other person as much as it’s about us.
They don’t make us feel a certain way. We are the ones authorising our feeling, through what we think. Because we have control over our thinking, and, therefore over our feeling, we have personal power. Knowledge of our personal power may be an advantage others don’t have.
This is a rich possession we have hold of. And how will we use it? How are we to arrange our responses? How do we want to reflect over this interaction later? How do we plan to feel after?
Once we have identified our path of response—which isn’t to be limited by our typical responses—we simply enrol ourselves to courage to make the imagined scenario of interaction a reality.
Courage is our relational ally. And we watch as our assertiveness rises to the challenge.
The Courage To Act Consciously
It takes courage to do what we know is right. But faced with the moment we can just as easily shrink, their power for the moment overcoming us.
Coping with a strong personality is not about competition; they will insist on winning the competition. We must deal in a different way. When we have the courage to hold our own, including resisting the need to compete, we play an unpredictable game.
Stronger personalities don’t reckon on assertive responses; they generally encounter competition or submission.
When we have the courage to act consciously, and in obedience with what is right, quelling our reactions of emotion just enough to do what we need to do, we can manage these situations.
The strong personality is a nemesis to many of us. They bully people. Dealing best with stronger personalities is about simple assertiveness. Gently though firmly holding our ground and containing our emotions are keys.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.