Are you hard on yourself, beating yourself up for mistakes you’ve made in hopes that it’ll help make the horrible sinking feeling of failure go away?
The weight of not living up to who you think you are or how you thought things would go can feel crushing.
I know because I was just there this past week and I was definitely in shame and it was painful.
But then, as I shone my self-awareness super-powers onto the shame, the pain and the shame transformed into a big breakthrough.
My shame came from how I handled communication at the end of, and after a 9.5 hour group zoom meeting that went over time by an hour and a half. Doesn’t that sound fun!? 🙂
I pride myself on being a thoughtful communicator and not letting my emotions cloud my vision too much, but I was definitely throwing daggers at people through my eyes by the end of that meeting. I waited several days before responding to messages about the meeting to allow myself to calm down and gain context. Even so, when I did go to compose messages my frustration was front and center, and the result was that I sent a few accusatory messages that left me feeling like crap.
Then, I asked myself: Why is this my habit pattern?
The answer that came to me: Because I walk around as if everyone is an adversary.
Whoah! That insight was HUGE for me.
Can you imagine walking around the world like that? No wonder the outcome is adversarial interactions sometimes.
When I signed on to that meeting, in the back of my mind, I was entering a group of adversaries.
This wasn’t conscious on my part. It’s a coping mechanism that I learned as a result of being bullied in elementary school.
I see myself as a lone wolf as a form of protection and I’m always at the ready to deal with misogyny, lack of awareness and pushback – whether its actually there or my heightened defenses perceive that it’s there.
This keeps me trapped in my own mental jail and has me react to people instead of responding to them.
One of my clients, a high performing projects manager at a big defense company, was angry when her boss told her that everyone in the office felt like they had to walk on eggshells around her because she always seemed frustrated. I asked her if she thought there was some truth to that.
She paused, and then said: “Probably because I really don’t like any of them.”
I responded, well no wonder they feel like you’re always frustrated – because you are! Then we talked about strategies for how to shift the context so she didn’t feel so frustrated at work. After one of our coaching sessions together she was able to go back to the office and connect with her co-workers in a way that was productive for everyone.
To be clear, it’s not about repressing emotions or not using your voice to speak your truth.
The breakthrough comes when you recognize that your actions don’t align with who you say you are.
I say that I’m someone who empowers people, but I walk around like everyone is an adversary. Those two things aren’t in alignment and they don’t contribute to my health, happiness or ability to do what I say I want to do.
Now that I’m aware of this coping mechanism that I’ve carried around for 40+ years I have the power to choose out of it and breakthrough the jail I’ve created in my head!
Is that going to be easy? Heck no, but you know what also isn’t easy? Walking around like everyone is my adversary. 🙂 This is an opportunity for me to create new possibility for myself in connection and communication.
What habit patterns are you aware of that don’t align with who you say you want to be? What’s a new possibility you could create for yourself?
If you want guidance in gaining awareness around both of those questions email me. I’ve designed my Mind Body Adventure coaching programs to help you gain clarity on what’s important to you and what’s holding you back. I look forward to connecting and witnessing your breakthroughs!