People are good at getting angry with you when you don’t allow them to treat you poorly. The nerve - “Who do you think you are to stand up for yourself?!” I am going to share something quite personal today, it’s not my usual habit to share my innermost feelings. So, bear with me if I flail about trying to express the details.
I truly never knew what my superpower was until I was tested a few years ago. I grew up watching my mother. Stand strong and juggle life while taking care of eight children. My father, who is a free-thinking hippie type, was only grounded by his proximity to my mother. Through thick and thin, highs and lows, which included the untimely death of her firstborn, she persevered. As a child, I watched her closely- consciously or subconsciously absorbing everything she did. Of course, at the time I didn’t know I was watching the masterful execution of a superpower. I would always hear comments about how strong my mother was. But, I never heard anyone say how resilient she was. One day, I heard her say that due to her mother’s death when she was only 9 years old she learned to “heal while in place or on the run”. She had to become resilient, but for me, being resilient has saved my sanity so many times throughout my life.
Strangely, I have had to be more resilient in my professional life than in my personal life. The most difficult professional experience I have ever had was when I came to someone’s defense. It was a normal day, or so I thought. I have never been able to stand by and watch someone get bullied or targeted in a hateful way. I don’t scurry away from it. I will meet a bully head-on. There is something about meanness, that I simply cannot tolerate. However, sometimes standing up for what’s right can impact your own life disastrously. Long story short, a couple of people were trying to discredit a co-worker through microaggressions and essential using that person’s weakness, a quick temper, against her. At every opportunity, the group would try to pull me in. Even after several refusals to join in their antics, they continued to try to draw me into their mess. Finally, I told them what they were attempting to do was inappropriate and just plain wrong. What happened next took me by surprise. They stopped targeting their original prey and began to target me.
If I tried to distance myself, more vitriol was thrown my way. I held strong or I appeared to hold strong. The more I did not shrink the angrier these people became. Soon, the very person I had defended from this group, joined the group is trying to bully me! In order to save herself, she joined in their inappropriate behavior.
That was the toughest test of all. My soul was weary of constantly having to protect myself. I looked to my tried and true support system, my sister and my husband. So I formulated a plan to remove myself from a physically and mentally toxic environment - a plan to “heal in place” or on the run. I created a ritual that I followed before entering the lion’s den. It consisted of morning meditation and reviewing my intention for the day. My travel time to work was used to raise my soul’s vibration or to infuse new knowledge. Under stress, I never felt I had enough minutes in the day. I parked further away from work to allow time to center myself. This also allowed for decompression after work.
I continued to lean heavily on my true support system, my big sister, and my hubby. Both lovingly cheered me along my path but also let me know when I was veering far off track. Eventually, the group moved on to another coworker. And yes, I defended her, and I refused to join a, now a noticeably smaller group, in their “mean girl” behavior. But, this time, I wasn’t alone, other coworkers also refused to participate.
So, what’s your superpower? Is it that you can strike up a conversation with anyone as if you’ve known them all your life or can you name a song, any song in two notes? Is it kindness or counseling those in need? No matter what it is, embrace it. We all have something that we are particularly good at, something that makes us spectacular. My superpower happens to be the ability to cope and adjust my path as needed. True resilience. Resilience I learn from my mother and for which I am forever grateful. Sometimes life can be difficult but difficult situations can also help us find our strengths. Maybe, just maybe it can also help you discover your superpower. I found mine on the other side of a storm.
Thanks for reading,