A friend was in a river rafting accident that resulted in both a compression fracture coupled with a spiral twist break of his leg. The bruising was so great that he had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the swelling to subside enough before having the necessary operations.
Not long after this I experienced what I call emotional bruising in the work place. The two events occurred close enough for me to make a connection. Emotional bruising is a real thing, just like physical bruising. And sometimes there is swelling associated with it. Just like in physical bruising, it is important to let the swelling go down before “operating”.
Emotional bruising in the workplace is more common than we may like to admit. Often it is not intentional, and, sometimes it is. Regardless, it hurts. Big owee’s (as I used to say when my son was younger) can and do occur. For me, and many I know, it’s tempting to react and fight back but I was taught not to “let emotions get in the way of business”. Just “get over it”. For others, conflict is not in their nature and they simply go quiet and “disappear”. Neither produces particularly good results as we sweep the issue under the mat and it never really deal with what’s happening here.
I’m now questioning the wisdom of this. Especially given that my “work” encourages people to bring “all of themselves” to their work, and a big premise of my work is that the better you know how you tick, the more effective you will be in your work environment.
Our emotions, if acknowledged, examined and understood can be the source of information that can bring about positive change – in this case in our work place. Instead of simply “getting over it”, I now offer this approach instead:
1. The Owee
Firstly, upon encountering an emotionally bruising situation, allow time to notice it, and then for the swelling to go down. As for my friend above, this may take days! This is when you can enquire as to what is really going on?
- Replay the scenario in your head and notice what arises?
- Ask yourself - why did I react / get so upset?
- What emotions are present for me now?
- Does this scenario remind me of anything else?
- Is there a pattern here?
2. Pre-op preparation
Once you have got some clarity about what is really going on for you, you are in a better position to decide what to do about it. What is the action plan required for the necessary healing in order for you to return genuinely stronger and more aware.
- What are the lessons for me here?
- What would I like to change going forward?
- What do I need to do differently?
- Is there anything I need to ask of the other person / company involved?
- What support do I need going forward?
3. Operation and post-op support
Now check in with yourself, that the bruising has subsided enough for you to “operate”.
Then, implement the first step of your action plan from above. The action plan is usually a process and progress can feel slow. The initial op is only the first part and “post operative care” is important. This can take many forms – it may be skills you need to learn, support from friends or spouse, an external coach to help with habits you need to change, a trained therapist to help with deeper issues you are ready to heal.
This is where I have found the Way of Nature teachings to be invaluable for myself. I encourage any teachings or personal development that enables us to explore what is going on for ourselves, what our needs really are, and to work out a way to have those needs met.