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December 23, 2019
Word of the Week: Gentle
Life Lesson: Notes from Camp 002 (our Dear Abby/Dear Sugar-style advice column)
My manager told me that others were talking about me negatively behind my back (around me being late for a meeting). Overall, I’ve been really successful in my role and have heard nothing but positive feedback. I like this job a lot, but now I’m wondering who complained about me being late – and why my manager would even report that. This has become an issue because I spend a lot of my waking hours working. I’ve become a bit more conservative in delegating work since I’ve heard this. I’m also re-evaluating my job.
How can I know I can trust my co-workers?
First of all, I am sorry this happened to you. Getting negative feedback of any kind can really sting, especially when a breach of trust is involved.
In times like these, my first instinct is to jump into problem-solving mode and try to use my brain to figure out what I should do next. However, I’ve learned over the years that when my heart hurts, my brain is not very helpful. So instead of jumping straight into “How can I fix this?” (even though my ego always wants things resolved immediately), I try to give myself space to be extra kind and gentle with myself when I am feeling upset. Upping my self-care routine, lots of baths, journaling, movement practices like yoga and dance, cozy tea, and spending time in nature. Once my nervous system has calmed down and I feel grounded in my body, only then can I begin to make clear decisions about how to move forward.
See, it’s very hard to think straight when we are in shame. Rather than trying to force ourselves to deal with an issue when we feel bad, it is often more helpful in those moments to practice self-compassion. Research even shows that people who practice self-compassion are better able to cope with negative feedback because they know the negative feedback is not a reflection of who they are as a person. The same is true for you, JG. Just because you were late to a meeting doesn’t mean you are a bad person. I have found that once we stop looking at ourselves through the lens of “good” vs “bad” and start accepting our imperfections as a part of being human, we signal to our hearts that everything will be okay no matter what.
While re-building trust with someone like a coworker is a two-way street, you are doing your part by going inward and healing your heart. You can only control how you show up and lead by example. Your coworkers need to earn the right to your trust just as much as you desire to earn theirs. Don’t sell yourself short. You are more confident and capable than you think you.
Ask Yourself: When you are feeling down, do you tend to want to jump into problem-solving mode or are you gentle with yourself and take care of your needs first? What are your favorite ways to nourish your mind, body, and spirit when you are upset?
Weekly Mantra: Everything will be okay.