There will always be someone out there who loves to put people down. I have met them. I have seen them in action. I have heard them turn the machines and work the gossip mills and the rumor factories. I have been put through the ringer more times than I can count. I have encountered bullies. I’ve had times when I stood up for myself and there were times when I simply walked away. However, the one attachment I recognize most is my level of importance and my association of value with bullies and what they say.
Take this idea for example: say you were just given a large cash prize, tax-free and with absolutely no strings. Let’s say it’s a cash amount of an even $1 million. Then you find out that people who you worked with were bad-mouthing you. Keep in mind; you have just earned a substantial cash prize. Would the news about your coworkers bother you? Would you even think about it?
The chances are your attention would be elsewhere and your attachment to the news would be more directed on the cash prize.
Am I right?
But now, let’s change this for a second. Let’s say we lost money. Let’s say we found out that we were in debt and that we have to work more hours but somehow, the news was leaked that we were being slandered on the job.
Where would our attention go?
Most likely, we would feel and think more about the words from our coworkers. However, nothing about us has changed. Our personal chemistry is the same. Whether the slander is true or not, we still have our abilities. We are still equally as capable of navigating through town, going to the store, eating or going home. But yet, our attachments are different.
I used to be attached to everything that was said about me. I took everything personally. I admit to my struggles with this. I admit to my efforts of mindfulness, which takes time. I admit to my needs to have a working and understandable outlet. This way I can process my challenges. I am uncomfortable with bullies or bullying. I am uncomfortable with slander and people who look to be spiteful or hurtful. It is often easier said than done to step away or to not respond emotionally. However, there are times when words hurt. There are times when we find out that our so-called friends were not really friends at all. And this sucks but this is still true. This is true at home and as well as in the office.
The one assumption I had to change is the assumption that people will think or see things the way I think or see things. I had to learn that not everyone is going to be a fan. I learned that there will always be someone who snarls, shakes their head, or maybe even shakes their fists. This is them and this is their job. But this has nothing to do with me; even if this is directed at me; still, this is not about me. There are people whose insecurities will overwhelm them and because of this, they will look to preemptively strike first, or strike hard, and they choose to slander so they can keep their place in the circle. But what does this say about them?
In my efforts to be a better person, I often find myself in a tussle between my old ways of thinking and my new ideas. I had to find a way to navigate away from this “Victim-based” mindset and call this out in a more honest context.
Rather than succumb to the slander or to the unfair actions of others or take this personally; I have to challenge my assumptions and ask myself “Why?”
I had to learn to compartmentalize my thoughts, feelings and ideas and identify them, individually and almost itemize them, one by one. This way, I learned more about my personal inventory. I learned more about my triggers and connections with anxious thoughts or feelings. Once I understood them, I was able to identify my triggers instead of respond to them.
What does it matter what people say about me?
Why does this affect me so personally?
Or better yet, why would I allow this to?
Personal health is holistic. This means I have to take care of myself on a holistic level, which means I have to take care of my “Whole” self and not just the matter of a few parts. I have to take care of myself both mentally and physically. This means that in times of crisis, I choose to practice distraction and replacement exercises—or, to put this simply, I replace problematic thinking by producing beneficial behaviors. I can exercise. I can take a walk. I can write something or speak to someone—and no, this will not change the fact that the challenge or problem exists—however, the challenge or problem would still exist anyway. So, rather than weep; I choose to empower myself.
I know there are people in this world who have their own agenda. I don’t blame them anymore. I have my own agenda too. The same as their agenda does not regard me; my agenda does not include them.
I go back to an analogy I taught to a classroom of students during a bullying initiative. I asked them to hold up there phones. I asked would any of them sell me their phone for $5.00. None of the kids said much. I said, “Part of the deal was you couldn’t erase anything or change anything on your phone. $5.00 and it’s mine.”
Nobody said anything. A few of students laughed.
I asked a student about his favorite car. He told me what it was but the name escapes me. I asked if he owned that car, would it be kept in a garage or on the street with the doors unlocked. The student laughed and said “Locked in a garage!”
“Because I don’t want someone to steal it,” said the student.
It is interesting to see the way we associate value.
Me, you, the student, or anyone else for that matter; we understand the value of a car, a house, a cell phone (and its information) and the worth of external items far more than we understand the value of ourselves.
It doesn’t matter what anyone says about me.
The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself.
If I understand my worth and my value; it’s the same thing as having $1 million in my pocket. If I don’t know my worth or if I don’t understand my value—it’s the same thing as being penniless.
Note to self: You are worth far more than you think.