I worked with a woman for years who had the best self-esteem of anyone I have ever met. She really knew herself – and she backed herself 100%. The only problem was that she wasn’t much of a team player. She liked the team when they were acting totally in her interest – picture a group of lowly servants carrying a queen on her sedan chair and you’ll get the idea.
I thought that she hated me. That’s what we do isn’t it, when someone is behaving in a less than ethical manner, we assume it’s our fault and convince ourselves it was something we did. We did not, how you say, vibe well. To be honest it felt like we were back at high school and she was the cool girl and I was, well, me.
The upshot of all this is that I spent nearly seven years trying to make my mark in the industry, only to have her constantly undermine my efforts. My paintings were removed from the walls of the gallery space, I wasn’t invited to join projects to which I would have made an excellent contribution and I was given a huge workload so I was unable to be really creative.
I still made my mark on the business side of things. I dragged that business out into the light, brushed it off and breathed new life into it. I loved that job and I loved my work and my staff and most of my colleagues. But looking back I let someone bully me and that person was ME.
It only occurred to me in the closing weeks before I left (on good terms, head held high) that she wasn’t against me. I mean, she didn’t exactly make life easy for me, she wasn’t a team player, but she didn’t have it in for me.
She was simply FOR herself. 100% for herself, no grey areas. I found this revelation both intriguing and really f*cking annoying. It had been me, holding me back, all along. It had been me taking on the extra work to try to prove my worth. And it had been me that backed down when my art was removed from the walls.
My worldview told me I wasn’t good enough. My worldview told me that I didn’t have what it takes to make it as an artist. So, in comes someone who confirms that belief!
I literally couldn’t hear all the other wonderful people I worked with who told me how much they loved my work. I felt like a fraud every time I sold a painting (usually by taking the clients out into my dodgy studio or the back kitchen of the factory we worked in!) I didn’t believe in myself, even though I had plenty of evidence that people loved my artwork and appreciated my contribution to the business.
It is possible to be for yourself without being a bitch to those around you. I am a team player from way-back! I would love to know if I could go back in time and strike that balance, set boundaries, in my old job.
I found my self (my ego!) wondering if after all the self-work (and therapy) I had done, I could deal differently with that situation. Surprise, surprise, I found myself in a similar situation last year in a part-time job and I said NO!
A situation was going down and I came home and did a deep meditation and then went back to work the next day, and guess what? The situation had diffused for me. Others were all still neck-deep in it, but me? No way! I had my own back this time!
This is why I rave on about meditation! Along with journaling, meditation is one of the best tools for self-realisation, healing the deep wounds we’ve been carrying around that affect our work and our lives. If you persist with the journaling and the meditation (and if you have to pick one, you REALLY need both, but seriously, just journal, it’s like meditation) you will begin to see the negative patterns that are affecting your work and heal them. Use the tools, that’s what they are for.
I didn’t get into the drama of it, I healed that sh*t and kept on going! As the Buddha said, Charaiveti, Charaiveti ~ Keep moving.
Tomorrow….I am going to start thinking about this idea…