You are not Going to Like the Solution, but it Works!
A few years ago I was having a spot of bother with a colleague at work. She was undermining my authority, making decisions on my behalf and just generally causing me grief. I think we can ALL relate to working with interfering busybodies like that, and most of us will resort to calling them infinitely stronger names! I complained about it to a friend at the time and she sent me some blurb out of a Buddhist Self-Help book. I took one look at the outlandish pearls of wisdom, laughed and stashed it away.
The problems with my colleague snowballed and snowballed until a meeting was called by the C.E.O to sort it out! We managed to put our differences aside in the end and civility was just about restored, yet there was always that underlying niggle between us. And I can’t help but thinking now how much easier it would have been then had I been a little more open-minded and willing to try a new thought technique… which is actually an ancient thought system believed to have originated in Japan; its secret passed down from generation to generation.
‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’
Aka. The Three Wise Monkeys. The very same wooden hand carved Three Wise Monkeys I’d bought on a holiday to The Gambia. The very same Three Wise Monkeys that had been staring at me for years on the shelf above my desk. The very same Three Wise Monkeys who’d traveled around with me from job to job. It seems they’d been trying to tell me something all along!
Mizaru covers his eyes and encourages us to turn a blind eye to all the negativity surrounding us (my jobsworth of a colleage)
Kikazaru covers his ears and encourages us not to listen to all the crap surrounding us (the gossip my jobsworth of a colleague was generating about me)
Iwazaru covers his mouth encouraging us not to retaliate by saying spiteful things back (my whinging and criticism of my jobsworth of a colleague)
If only I’d worked it out sooner…
Because the people in our lives are but a mirror of our minds, actions and deeds.
Yes, it seems incredibly ridiculous at first glance. But it is actually 100% spot on true. Unfortunately, it requires the ultimate in mind-bending skills to get our heads around this notion. And if you’re willing to put commonsense and reasoning to one side, you will be amazed at the results. Contrary to popular belief, you, me and everyone on this planet is a magician with the power to attract people (including that bitch of a boss, or that miser of a manager) into our personal bubble. But where there’s a will to change our minds, there’s a way to change the version of Sally the dragon of a Supervisor, or Fred the anal Financial Controller into much improved characters; dare I say it, characters we might even choose to be friends with!
So let’s imagine for a moment that your boss won’t give you a pay rise.
And you are miffed. Boy, you are miffed! I know you are miffed because this has happened to me. You’ve worked your socks off all year long. You’ve increased sales for your department by 25%. A pay increase is well overdue: that’s one thing, but the next day he shows up for work in a brand new Mercedes convertible, really rubbing the salt into the wound! Your ego’s reaction would be to punch him into the stratosphere. You’d only asked for another £3000 per year and how much did that thing in the parking lot cost?!
Step 1 – Let it out
Just let it out away from the workplace. Get that initial burst of anger out of your system. No point trying to quell it without owning the emotions. Do whatever you have to do (in a legal context!) and then take a nap. Yes, I mean it. Take a nap. Sleep is THE best way to restore negative emotions. When we switch off from ‘reality’ and drift into slumber our mind literally re-programmes itself to neutral, making it easier and more appealing to reach for those better feeling thoughts when we are awake. It may be that taking forty winks at 10 am in the morning is just not possible. Well, in that case ride it out and try to soothe yourself as much as possible as you get on with the day and just don’t worry about that mood too much. Know that tonight you will be able to sleep and re-vitalise, and tomorrow is a fresh day full of new possibilities for good thoughts.
Step 2 – Look for the good aspects of this person
Not the easiest of tasks, I know. Believe me, I know! But start small. Look for a couple of good traits this person has to offer (bearing in mind this is all about YOU ultimately feeling better and attracting great people to work with, so don’t give up at the first ‘hurdle’, it’ll all be worth it…). If you can, make a note of their plus points. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so your task is going to be to keep looking for two positive things about this person every day for several days. Don’t swear at me! I hear you already! Just trust me. This stuff really does work. You can notice something as simple as they have a great sense of humour, they’re always punctual, they have a fabulous figure or they are just as obsessed with cats as you are and you have a soft spot for them because people are unfairly calling them the ‘Freaky Cat Lady’. Anything goes. The key is to gradually feel your view of them soften around the edges.
Step 3 – Forgive them
#sorrynotsorry, you totally heard me right!
You might need to look for the positive aspects for a week or more before you can even contemplate getting to this stage without downing a double gin and tonic. But it is the most important one. Because in forgiving them, you are in fact releasing yourself. Holding a grudge or being angry with someone is nothing short of insinuating that they are your ‘God’. You are hereby granting them the power to have complete control over your mood, your thoughts and your life, when nothing could be further from the truth. You have ALL the power.
A strained office relationship is a bizarrely comfortable pain since for many of us, it is all we know to criticise and find fault with others. Society has trained us well to seek out the bad and punish it. We are so much less rehearsed when it comes to praising. And that’s one matter, but forgiveness; setting somebody free from our current mental viewpoint of them, well, that’s something else! Yet, the moment we can do that, we will literally notice all people, circumstances and events around us change into squidgy happy Play D’Oh.
Of course I can tell you all of this, or you can read about it in a gazillion Self-Help books, but in the end the only person who will truly prove it to you is you. One way around this seemingly (although I promise you it is not!) gargantuan task can be thinking of another person who was ‘done you wrong’ in the past; someone who doesn’t push your buttons in quite the same way as the ‘idiot’ in your current workplace. Close your eyes, imagine yourself hugging this not-quite-so-awful person and then after a few minutes forgive them in words. Hold that image. Bathe them and yourself in healing white light for as long as feels physically comfortable and then open your eyes. Now see if you can notice a difference in the way you feel. You truly have to be there in heart – and if you are, it’ll be an instantaneous shift in emotion that comes over you, almost goose bump like. A limp sweaty handshake isn’t going to cut it for this experiment! But I promise you if you carry it out with absolute intention, you will know it has worked its magic. I tried this when tending to unresolved feelings regarding an ex of mine. Next thing I knew, his doppelganger had only walked past my back garden… a sure (if somewhat freaky) sign that equilibrium had been restored.
Step 4 – Send them love
Yep. We’re really going to ramp it up now. But you wanted to know how to handle the boss from hell, right? Well, I promise you miracles and transformations in the workplace that you wouldn’t have even dreamed were possible… if you can bring yourself to shine a little love their way. It doesn’t have to be much. Just play with this. Have fun with your magician’s tool kit. Next time you bump into them in the office feel a genuinely harmonious connection to this person in your heart. You might want to pave the way for your endeavours by reading Rhonda Byrne’s fabulous book, ‘The Power’ in preparation. Far from being a soppy, romantic notion, the author explains how love is totally misinterpreted from the mega force that it truly is; the kind of force that moves mountains, parts the waves and renders the tornado that is Tony the head chef’s tempestuous tantrum into calm in the kitchen, transforms Tina’s Monday morning temper into a Monday morning tap dance, and morphs Moaning Melanie from Head Office into Mellow Mel…
Four steps. That’s all it takes.
As Marianne Williamson says in her enlightening bestseller ‘A Return to Love’:
‘One day we will realise that nothing occurs outside of our minds. How a person seems to show up for us is intimately connected to how we choose to show up for them… love is a decision… waiting to see whether someone is good enough is childish, and it is bound to make the other person feel on some level as though they are auditioning for the part.’
And not to worry if you aren’t ready for any of the above… The Universe will keep delivering these character types again and again and again into your workplaces. Trust me, I am sure about that one as well! As long as we keep blaming others for our situation, happiness or lack of something, then they will be there in their various guises to prove us right.
Because that is just how powerful we are!