“I am so angry about what my boss did to me and his behavior is just totally out of line.”
That’s my client venting about an incident that occurred with her boss. Her take is that her boss is hot-headed and treats most people miserably without giving any consideration to their feelings. Until this day, my client had been spared the wrath and unfair treatment her co-workers had experienced, but now it was her turn. Her feelings were running the gamut from fear to anger to panic, but mostly they were running the show.
Her inner conflict was real. Her feelings were causing her to imagine all sorts of implications for her and the reasons behind her boss’ behavior. It felt extremely unfair and very personal. Inner conflict like this is tricky because our own thoughts and feelings tend to have a bigger impact over what may or may not be happening in the conflict.
It is relatively easy to give way to the imagination of things that could be behind the actions of someone else, particularly when that person is your boss, but wait… I caution you to consider a couple of things.
The first is a statement I heard made by a CEO who spent the last few years turning his company around by genuinely caring about the whole person, that makes up those who work there. At a major national conference he said, “I got tired of seeing those in power play out their childhood issues on those who work for them.” This resonated so strongly with me, and everyone I shared it with when I returned from the conference.
The second thing I am asking you to consider is one of ‘The Four Agreements’ in the book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom written by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you have not read it please do, and if you have, it is always worth another read, especially when it comes to this agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
This agreement states that:
- Nothing others do is because of you.
- What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
- When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
OOOOOHHHH that’s a tough one because frankly, it all seems personal, especially when it is your boss. Your mind and feelings tell you all kinds of things that are personal and it is challenging to think that your mind and feelings are wrong, especially when they lead you down the road of coming up with all kinds of reasons why you are right. Instead, slow it down and try to consider that all the things leading you to believe that this is personal, are all the reasons why it is not.
You see, they are bumping up against the feelings, reactions, thoughts and issues that come up for YOU that have surfaced throughout YOUR life when this type of conflict comes up. Of course, it’s personal you think, because the truth is… IT IS! But not for them. It’s personal because of what happened to you in these past situations. So, just as they are acting out their own issues on you, you are reacting to previous conflicts with others who have acted out their issues on you as well.
Phew! I know that’s a lot, and most of you either vehemently disagree or are completely confused.
For some of you though, something went off and resonated with you, even if it’s not crystal clear. Oh and I empathize with you because when I was first confronted with this, I just knew that Don Miguel Ruiz had just never met my boss. It was all personal to me!
Okay, now breathe…
I need you to take this in and let me dissect it with you next week. Sit with it. Wrestle with it, and do everything you can to consider the possibility that this agreement just may be telling the truth. Then, tune in next week for the breakdown.
If you want to do the work with me, I am starting another session of my group for White people who would like real leadership, guidance, knowledge and calling you in to look at your stuff, but also helping you get out there to have these conversations at home, in the workplace, at school, in your communities, on social media or with those family members who just don’t get it. Here’s the link… https://theconflictcloser.com/matter-of-race2