Posted by: jewelinthelotus | May 7, 2010

Aha!! Moments

During my mile time run at boot camp this a.m., I had an Aha moment. A side note: it did not make the run any less painful. As much as I would love to run a 9 minute mile, I don’t want it bad enough to push myself. I lack motivation!  That is another subject.

One of my biggest challenges as an adult is working on not taking responsibility for how other people feel or behave. Of course, assuming responsibility means I can fix another person if I just change my behavior. Surely if I change they will change. A rather self-absorbed way of being, but true all the same. This way of being was learned as a child and since the “it is my fault” story line entered my conscious awareness, I have worked on dropping it. 

My AHA moment was about a situation that happened yesterday. What I thought would be a common sense black and white exchange (note the expectation) turned into an emotional eruption (not by me)!  Apparently, I triggered something in this person and I became the recipient of two very aggressive emotional e-mail rants that in short, although the e-mails were not, summary placed all blame on me.  Yesterday, I was too mad and stunned at such a hostile response to think clearly. I had to temper my own reaction so I didn’t do something that would only create more drama.  When I shared the e-mails with others yesterday I was struck at how many people responded with this person is blowing smoke and needs to honor the contractual obligation. PERIOD!!

I think buried underneath the thick layers of emotion was my guess, a desire to be trusted. The very thing this person wanted is the last thing I could give as I read through all the reasons why I SUCK.  I have always been struck how some people’s style is to get nastier as a way to hold their ground. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this style over and over in the workplace and all I have ever seen it do is erode trust and create communication breakdowns as people go out of their way to avoid being on the receiving end of such hostility.

What I realized on my run today is I was not taking this situation on as my responsibility despite the two e-mails clearly indicating it was. Even though the icky-ness of being lambasted with false assumptions and accusations still clung to me, the heavy burden of ownership did not.  For me this is huge because often I replay conflicts over and over trying to determine what I could have done differently – maybe if I had done this or that. ACK! It is annoying in my head sometimes. I am not saying reevaluating conflicts are not important, but my replays are more like self-flagellation vs. introspective reflection that surfaces healthy insight. However, my first thought about the situation this a.m. while running was this person needs to grow up and take accountability for their adult responsibilities. Today I was in full bodily agreement that the behavior and actions of the other person yesterday was not my fault. No matter how many nasty e-mails I receive, that fact does not change. I know this is black and white for many, but not taking full responsibility is HUGE for me.  And, to notice this change suggests a shift in former patterns is taking place.

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