Don't be mad or sad... : Creating happy work spaces
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Don't be mad or sad...

by Tami Anderson on 09/05/12

The only real thing I have to share with you is my experience, strength and hope. I know what I have read but what I learn is so much more beneficial to my growth.

In the last three months, on three separate occasions, three separate, important people were very angry with me. All three times I had done the right thing. Each time I made a decision based on what was right for them and others. Each person told me to not respond; not have any feelings about what they were saying to me, and, especially, don't be sad or mad.

At the time, I thought to myself, "How can I not be sad or mad when you are visibly extremely upset with me. You are yelling at me; holding me responsible for something I did to be helpful, not harmful and your face is contorted with eyes full of anger."

This complicated my poor little brain. I teach the importance of being honest with whatever a person is feeling. I believe deep, rigorous honesty is the only way to heal. You see, any emotions left unresolved add to all the similar past ones. Then there is a cluster. This collection gains power and momentum. Wherever beliefs of doubt, unworthiness, vulnerability, victimization, hopelessness are harboured, the emotions add the credibility to the belief. We now have congruency between thoughts and feelings which run our behaviour.

My natural default when faced with unexpected aggression is to shut down, close off from the people and put on my 'mature mask'.  So I did. The result? I felt nothing. For me, to feel nothing is, by far, worse than feeling something yucky. For decades I had a hole in my soul. I did not even know it was there. I didn't know what I didn't know until I knew it. Anyone could do and say whatever; I would just put it all in that hole. When I learned how to be deeply honest with my feelings, the hole left leaving me whole, worthwhile, valuable and confident.

Now, this seems it would be the exact opposite. It would look as if this technique makes us wallow in pain and self pity. Not true! Holding onto those emotions cause pain; kicking in an instinct to survive. Accumulating, and not healing, destructive feelings cause our world to appear unsafe.

Life's real oxymoron is by burying these emotions from the day we are born until we awaken to this light, we are burying our very own essence. Our Light cannot shine under such darkness. We are only surviving life, not an integral, thriving part of it. If I am only responding to circumstances through an instinct to make my world safe, how am I living fully and full of happiness?

At those times I felt ashamed, afraid, vulnerable and hurt. I chatted with people who understand the integral workings of healing by processing through feelings. They are not counsellors or psychologists. They are aware. They know, from experience, how it works. They can hold my pain because someone held theirs. I went deep to actually feel the shame, fear and hurt. I repeated the process periodically over a couple days until they left. It takes as long as it takes; as often as they come back. The result? Well, it reminds me of a favorite Buddhist saying, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional". Walking through the pain removes the suffering. I understand others have their own thoughts and feelings directing their beliefs which run their life. I am left with compassion, care and understanding for them and for me. I do not feel angry or sad or nothingness. The heart healed, it is not bitter. And, it is open for relationship with these people. Yay! Whew!

Our work with organizations revolves around these ideas and principles as well. Would this be beneficial in the workplace? Emotions run the show in organizations. The whole idea of 'getting ahead', 'business not personal', 'laying down the law', 'do it or else', 'whatever it takes', 'moving on up', 'don't take this personally', is hurting people. It is keeping them stuck, unhappy and unproductive. Are you giving or receiving these messages?

I may not be responsible for how others behave but I sure do own my way of thinking, feeling and being.

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