Use Your Words For Good
Today I was bullied ...
I am a professional woman in my 40’s … I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague … I am a human working hard to contribute and make the world a better place and today, I ...was … bullied. And it rattled me, and it scared me, and it became a loud voice in my head playing the tapes I work so hard not to play - the “you are not good enough tapes”.
I woke up to a LinkedIn notification that someone had commented on one of my posts, I got excited that someone would take their time and energy to contribute to a conversation, to engage, to make us better by sharing thoughts and insights, to help us grow … instead I found an irrelevant to the topic personal attack. My stomach dropped. Fear. Confusion. What? Why? And I heard the click of the “tape-player” being pressed. “You are not good enough” Shame. Embarrassment. More shame. “Who did you think you were? You are not good enough” I just wanted to crawl into myself and make myself as small as I could. “Will people see this?” “Will they believe what this person just said?” The tapes started to get louder in my head and to quiet them down, I found myself getting defensive, running through my “qualifications” in my head. Thinking mean thoughts towards this stranger … "How dare he?" I pick on a couple of things from his LinkedIn profile - easy targets - and I AIM but before I discharge I find myself not being able to do it. As in NO desire whatsoever to go there. I breathe. Sadness. Hurt. Helplessness. Crippling feelings.
Then I become self-aware. I am aware of my un-comfortableness.
I’m aware of the gap between my current feeling of shame and my aspiration of courage.
I hear the click of the “tape-player” stopping. I still have the feelings and at the same time it’s like I have hit pause in my actions. I am simply living with the feelings but they have no power over my actions. They are just … there.
I reach out to some very close people (I told a total of 4 people - you know who you are). I say “this happened to me and this is how I’m feeling and I’m working on not letting that voice inside my head.” I’m received with love, support, encouragement, even humor and all 4 of them leave me with …”YOU GOT THIS.” And I hear the click of the “tape-player” starting up again: “It’s ok.” “You want to work on this, you want to grow through this.” Breathe.
I know what I would tell someone who just experienced what I did. And I also know I would automatically say it, without hesitation, without a doubt, and with a great level of conviction. Why couldn’t I say it to myself? Why did it rattle me so? Merely 2 weeks ago I had a conversation with great humans about impostor syndrome, and even more recently I was quoting Brené Brown on her advice regarding being very selective as to whose opinions of us we listen to.
I KNOW BETTER. I AM BETTER.
So here I am. I am thankful for what this experience is teaching me. This gentleman contributed not to the conversation but to my development and growth. His comment provided an opportunity for me to be vulnerable and in the process foment and continue to build trust in relationships I deeply value. It has also presented an opportunity for me to work on bridging the gap between where I am and where I want to be and walk the talk that I vehemently share with others. This experience also reinforces my deep belief to use my words for good.
Our voices are so powerful - use your words for good.
Be seen; see others; keep on shining your light.