Life coaching column originally published in JEZEBEL Magazine.
Q: In this choppy economy I’ve had three jobs within the past two years. I do a good job and have a good attitude but it seems that wherever I go, my co-workers gang up on me and make my life miserable. I’m so angry with them for being such jerks that eventually I just leave. Why is this happening to me? Alix J.
A: First things first. Beating yourself up won’t improve the situation, so let’s focus on what you’re doing right.
Obviously, you’re beginning to recognize a pattern here, and that’s smart. Do you want to cut and run from every job you have for the rest of your life?
You need to begin to see the perfection in the situation. Questions like ‘Why are they so mean to me?’ or ‘Why is this happening to me?’ are standard victim mentality questions that will cause the situation to repeat ad nauseum until you ‘get it.’
As Atlantan Colin Tipping explains in his powerful Radical Forgiveness workshops and book, ‘When we see ourselves as victims, we think only about killing the messenger. We miss the message.’
You need to recognize that you are creating the situation in order to learn its deeper lessons, heal them and move on. Radical forgiveness involves a shift in perception. Tipping says that seen from the spiritual Big Picture, whatever occurs is meant to occur for your growth.
Your Higher Self called it forth, therefore nothing bad happened, so there is nothing to forgive. Tipping also explains that we can’t play God and pretend to understand the Big Picture. We simply aren’t spiritually evolved enough yet to know why our lives unfold the way they do, so asking the endless question ‘why?’ is simply a waste of energy.
Our task is to see that a lesson might exist and trust the process of releasing the energy (anger, fear, sadness, shame) around it, and then letting the spiritual wisdom flow. Then, Shift Happens!
In regard to employment and relationships, we’re often drawn to environments and people that help us relive family of origin issues. In your case, did your siblings reject you or bring you to the boiling point until you wanted to run and hide? How many times will you have to repeat this lesson in your adult life?
For example, my former client Marilyn worked in an international manufacturing company whose executives were mostly ex-military. Heading communications, she was one of the few women in management, and every department constantly dumped last-minute projects (always Top Priority) on her desk.
Although a very hard worker, she was always scrambling to meet their rigid standards and handle the sheer volume of work. The numerous last minute miracles she pulled rarely seemed to be quite good enough.
Turns out she’d grown up among four brothers. Her very rigid father had been career military, a man for whom she was never able to perform quite up to standard. When I pointed out to her that she’d recreated her challenging childhood situation at her job, she was astounded!
Eventually she realized she didn’t have to kill herself working for disapproving coworkers who would never think she was enough. Instead, she got new training and is far happier in her new position–and has time to enjoy her own family as well.
Gandhi said, ‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.’
She got the lesson, healed the situation through awareness, forgiveness and acceptance, and moved on to a better life.
You can do it too.