You can know a fact, but that doesn’t mean you’ve learned it.
I know I want to be a more loving and open hearted person. I know that takes setting aside my sensitive ego. But, in the heat of the moment, I find my anger rising and my ego emerges seeking justice and revenge.
I have been on edge. I’m in a generally good mood until someone disturbs my flow, until someone expresses their unproven false opinion of me, until I ask and don’t receive. if these things happen, I am upset and ready to put my fists up in a fight.
I am especially disposed to pride over my capabilities. I have endured a lot of sexism, agism, and body shaming.
Often times I am treated less than by women because of my age and body. They express my unworthiness to hold positions of leadership and question my ideas for innovation. They express that I am simply the “favorite” and ignore the hours of work poured into work products to ensure their jobs are made easier and protected. They comment on my body as Exhibit A to prove me guilty of sloth and laziness.
In these moments, I rely on the strength of the women I have come to know and love. I remember the lesson they have taught me and some how it’s easier to understand the hurt of those women who treat me poorly.
Often those women are reflections of their heartbreaks and disappointments. Typically… associated with men. They were laid off instead of their male counter part, they were let go when requesting maternity leave, they are enraged at their ex-husband’s younger wife, or they have simply fought for a long time for equal treatment in the workplace and respect and love in their personal lives.
Men often combined with my sex, age, and body treat me like an ignorant, uneducated girl ill-fit to voice an opinion to question authority and provide valid and meaningful insights. My male peers are treated with regard and valued, as if my floral skirt and lipstick solely qualifies me as an assistant to their perceived greatness and nothing more. i am often spoken to in patronizing tones and made to be an example.
In these moments, I know I need to practice the art of forgiveness and the art of believing the good in people. It’s so against my learned behaviors.
Notice I didn’t say against my nature. My true nature is to be loving and at peace. My true nature is not my ego, but my soul. The more i’ve allowed hurt, abuse, and overall social discomfort jade me, the more I tend to act on behalf of my ego… and rage out.
Here are the 5 things I must practice when my ego starts to lead.
I am not a child - Often the people who rub my ego with coarse sand paper are the ones acting like children, regardless of their actual age. I find that I am able to utilize confrontation and criticism when delivered in an adult manner. So, when there is a child throwing a tantrum, it is my responsibility as an adult to act like one and use my emotional intelligence to navigate the conversation. This could mean changing the subject, using humor to soften the mood, directly addressing the inappropriate behavior, or simply leaving the conversation.
Reaffirm my affirmations - I practice positive affirmations every morning and night. It amazes me how easy it is to forget them in a heated moment when I need it most. Also, my ego lashes out usually when my trauma is triggered by …. something, anything… maybe I can discuss that another time.
Breathe - As someone who struggles with anxiety, the worst feeling is suffocating in emotions. It feels like actual drawing and my body starts to gasp for air. When I start to hyperventilate, I have been using a technique I learned from Jane the Virgin, CALM.
Move my body - There is something so relaxing about simply walking. I find I am myself most while on a long walk in nature. The Huffington Post reported,
“Taking a walk in the part could actually shift your brain into a calmer state, according to recent research. A UK study found that walking through green spaces can put the brain into a meditative state. The act is found to trigger "involuntary attention," meaning that it holds attention while also allowing for reflection.”
Look for and lead with love - I would like to say people at their core are good people and they have the capacity for love and kindness in every way. I believe that because I believe our souls are all made out of the universal power we call love. It’s my job to focus on a person’s soul and navigate through their egos to get there. It’s also my job to act out of love and to teach by example.
sure I can say this now... but when it comes to walking the walk... that’s the rub. It takes practice! It take conscious effort to do all these things when I have been overcome by hurt and anger.
writing this post is one of the ways i am learning to heal and learning how to not hurt others.