Passiveness, aggressiveness, and assertiveness are personality characteristics. While passiveness and aggressiveness are at the opposite poles, assertiveness is in the middle range. An aggressive personality is arrogant, imposing, overbearing, and obnoxious. A passive personality is submissive ever striving to yield, please, and placate. A person with an assertive personality is well-adjusted, resilient, tolerant, balanced, and fearless yet sensitive. An aggressive person acts out and takes out on others; he/she disregards others’ rights and alienates them. A passive person acts in, and often silently suffers swallowing disagreeable stuff. An assertive person expresses what is on mind and holds one’s own ground often agreeing to disagree in an agreeable way.
In a world that is becoming more and more aggressive, demanding, and self-righteously insisting on one’s rights while neglecting one’s obligations, assertive skills are very much in need. At the risk of broad and stereotypical generalisations, I venture a few comments. While western personality tends to be aggressive-aggressive, eastern personality tends to be passive-aggressive. The western personality tends to look for immediate gratification; the eastern personality tends to unduly delay gratification of desires. The immediate gratification as well as undue delay of gratification brings in its wake distinctive emotional and mental problems. There is a physical and an emotional cost for both. With an aggressive-aggressive personality, a person is likely to relentlessly take an aggressive course often without thinking through, and causes grave damage to all including self.
An aggressive person is like a bull in a china shop; destroys everything in its path. The passive-aggressive person keeps on absorbing negative and bad feelings, builds up until he/she cannot contain anymore, and finally blows up in a great explosion causing harm to all. With the world shrinking fast at an exponential rate, and becoming a global park as a result of massive communication and connectivity, the comments above may be dated. The younger generations in India appear to be markedly more aggressive than the older ones. Westernisation often appears to be mistaken for modernisation. It is of paramount importance that we retain our best eastern values while assimilating the best in the West.