It has been ANOTHER really challenging day. I arrived at work and my manager called me into his office. He proceeded to inform me that the company had an issue with the fact that I had made an issue known, in regards to concerns I had. However, he had dealt with the issue and explained the reasons to ‘upper management’.
Initially I was livid with anger and I began to cry in front of him – bless his heart he handled the situation well, and let me sob it all out. He must have been surprised to see a grown woman (of nearly 30! lol) sob uncontrollably first thing Monday morning. I was appalled because the company has policies encouraging staff to voice their concerns. Not only that, but they also have procedures put in place to facilitate this very thing. In my situation, however, it was frowned upon to follow through. In all honesty I was completely hurt and felt let down – betrayed even – and as a result I was not completely motivated or productive in my work. I could not focus at all today. As the day progressed I started to feel better, but I could not shake the feelings fully and ‘let it go’.
During a late bathroom break (funny I have profound moments in bathrooms, must be the silence…), it finally dawned on me that the feelings I was experiencing are linked to my childhood. I was bullied as a child and I had the same feelings I carried in my childhood (shame, confusion, self-blame and loneliness). My response to the situation, therefore, was so strong and intense as it has ties to my past – when it’s hysterical it’s historical. That little girl in me is still alive. I thought I had buried her and the past and I am living in the now as an adult, but I am learning that I see the world through her eyes.
Our experiences shape the fibre of our being, and these experiences never disappear because we carry them day to day into the future. So by understanding my history, I can be kind to myself instead of beating myself up. With the circumstances at work I had to step back and look at myself and not the ‘company’. It’s so easy for me to play the victim and indulge wholeheartedly in self pity. I do not think the people in company are absolved for the part that they have played. However, for me to move forward I have to deal with the internal conflict that I alone am experiencing.
I have been taught recently in life that when I face difficult situations, instead of stewing in self pity, anger and resentment, I have to ask myself important questions. These questions allow me to regain the power. When I stew, I allow the institution, person, thing, circumstance etc., to take my ‘power’ and ultimately peace of mind. Today is no different: what happened, what have I learnt from this and what would I do differently?
I voiced a concern at work and management were not pleased. However, the immediate line manager supported me in voicing the concerns. I also had support from my work colleagues – the reality is, I was not alone.
What I can learn from this?
Everything is connected (my history/past and my present) and when I identify that, I can work on being objective, as well as be kind and understanding to myself. My workplace may not be the healthiest (I did not feel valued and the communication between upper management and myself was not open and transparent) but I can be.
What would I do differently?
In future before voicing my opinion I should weigh up whether or not it is a safe environment for me to do so. However, I also need to balance being true to myself, keeping in mind that there is no shame in speaking up. It may have been a rough day but I can see why and understand my emotional response. It does not mean that my experience and feelings are invalidated. If I acknowledge my feelings and experience them, eventually they will run their course. I am not perfect and I never will be – I am learning that I have been shaped by my past. This is not a disadvantage but it empowers me to cope with today.