Sometimes we judge our present and our future by what has gone on in our past. This can be a logical conclusion. What shapes us can often determine our reactions and actions towards work and relationships. This can be a very positive thing, learning not to cross the street until the green man is flashing or knowing not to put your hand in the fire are ultimately sensible and wise survival tips. However when negative things happen in our life it can be difficult not to repeat that negativity or to perceive that a situation from the past is going to play out in the same way.
We need to take a step back at this stage and think “what do i know to be true.” The wonderful Byron Katie in “loving what is” talks about asking yourself four questions , “is it true”, “can I absolutely know it’s true”, ” how do I react when I think that thought” and “who would I be without the thought”. By asking yourself these questions start to look at your perceptions, are you really shit at your job? Will life be really better if you lose twenty pounds. If only I was this or that then he would have stayed me..! All these questions I’ve asked myself at one time or another and some of the time I have believed them to be true. The same with “If only I worked out more I’d be in a relationship” (umm not necessarily), besides these things can build up as excuses to stop you looking at yourself and actually appreciating who you are and what you have achieved)
When you are in doubt about yourself this can often turn to bitchiness or competitiveness. How many times have we said “oh they have it so easy,” ” they only got that promotion because their uncle is the boss” or ” she must have slept with someone for that job”. What that does is simply show our bitterness. We forget at these stages to look at ourselves and think “I’m grateful for how far I’ve come by sheer hard work” we need to acknowledge that our journey is simply that , our journey and anyone else’s path should not affect us. If we truly believe that we are stuck in a rut and not getting the acknowledgement that we deserve then first of all we need to look and see what we can do to change that. If we can’t change that then we need to think how we can move on and out of a negative situation, whether that be a new job or getting out of a relationship or simply realising that self criticism is not helping you.
Being bullied at school and then at university feeling tormented by the rugby lads who’d shout “gay boy” at me amongst other things I felt very much like an outsider. This was something that I relished in at times as there were less expectations on those perceived as outsiders. It was also something that I was determined to break out of. Even when becoming popular I felt like I cheated and that I needed to not be who I was in order to fit in. I questioned “why are people friends with me, if they knew what I was really like then they wouldn’t be”. The more I’ve grown up and become more comfortable with myself the more those that were a negative influence or didn’t appreciate me have drifted away and I have amazing, wonderful supportive and kind people in my life. My family have always been amazing and supportive but my feeling of not belonging at school and to an extent at university would make me seek out people who didn’t appreciate me, and i became the consummate people pleaser, which after a while can be very exhausting. Be mindful of getting yourself into that same situation.
Isn’t it also interesting at work how someone we work with, or a boss, can instantly remind us of that bully from school, the mean girls, that jerk you dated or the one that got away. It can be something as simple as a physical likeness, an accent or a common interest that takes you back to being 13 and no one wants to sit with you at the lunch table. But what you need to realise is that they aren’t the same people, they may have similar characteristics but they are not the same people. We can also choose how we react as well, by mirroring the reactions of our 14 year old self we can be alienating people that actually might be good for us, or if they are bullies make ourselves more vulnerable to abuse. Now I know that bullying is rife in the workplace and we often can’t control the behaviour of others but we can control our behaviour and control what we believe to be true about ourselves.
You are all very talented and much stronger than you might give yourselves credit for. Keep focused on your goals and ask yourself when you meet a hurdle, is it truly because I’m not good enough? Often it’s just not the right time or not right for you, or you need to push yourself more. Be proud of your inner geek, use it to be stronger. Isn’t it amazing having been bullied, or not been popular or been an outsider, actually it often makes you a million times more empathetic, and aware than people that maybe haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, and that only has to be a good thing!