With all the work I have done to move towards congruence, peace and stability, there apparently is still opportunity for shadows of things past to creep into my life. I suppose the realization that they are indeed just shadows and not actually dark black images of the present is proof of growth.
I was blessed with - and still have, three remarkable brothers. It was the boys, me, and mom for most of my childhood. Dad breezed in and out between marriages. My mom, in all her craziness; both good and bad, held us together. She instilled in us a love and loyalty to family, to each other. As do all families, we had our own rules of combat. We didn't let things fester, we addressed the many issues that emerged; sometimes functionally, sometimes in a dysfunctional way. At the end of the day, we knew we loved (know we love) each other and continue to live in peace.
I have always been uncomfortable with conflict. It leaves me feeling unsettled. If I've knowingly offended someone I have a need to make it right as soon as possible. When you are strongly opinionated and rather outspoken, there is a risk of being misunderstood and subsequently upsetting/angering others. For the most part, I temper my words, reactions, thoughts, doings with compassion. However, on occasion, advocacy merges with anger and the pit bull in me breaks off its leash and pounces before I can give the 'stop' command. Yikes, what a mess!
To be fair, in professional settings, ie with clients, students, parent or support workers, the pit bull is safely in its pen. Dealing with colleagues and more precisely, peers, there is a greater risk of that pen door opening.
I have spent a large portion of my life wishing and hoping and praying for that part of my personality to just go away.
Oh to have a poker face.
Oh to be just a bit more beige.
Oh to be that woman who can keep her opinions, passions and thoughts to herself!
How often have I wished to be someone else? It's that wishing away of myself that has been the focus of much of my personal work and growth. Over the past fifteen years, I have become quite comfortable with me. I have come to quite like me. I have examined the many complex and simple parts of me and declared that God has made me just right! I have come to an acceptance of who I am and my place in community. So imagine my chagrin, shock, disdain, when I was faced with conflict that ambled its way to someone disliking me. To be judged unfairly, to be misunderstand yet again, sent a slight tremor to my being. Was I at risk of losing my grounding? A sounding NO!
After rehearsing the situation, with my beloved and wise reverend; after repairng and restoring understanding with a close peer, resolution restored peace. I learned again, that there will always be conflict. It is how we deal with and learn from that conflict that will determine growth. I was once again reminded that I am responsible for some of the repair, and yet in conflict there is some responsibility for the other party as well. I can only fix so much. I have confirmed at my core that I can have peace even though there is not 100% peace around me.
This week I was able to wrestle through a situation and come out stronger and gain a more solid working relationship with a peer. Growth is rewarding, growth is good!
What opportunities have you had for personal or professional growth this week?