Yesterday I received a love heart in the post, an unusual necklace made of old coloured pencils that I ordered from Etsy back in September, which finally arrived from the Czech Republic. As it had taken so long to come, I had chased the seller asking where it was two days day before, feeling frustrated and tempted to cancel the whole order. Then Bingo! it arrived and, as it turns out, this little wooden heart’s timing was impeccable.
I picked it up from the Post Office depot on my way home from work and I wasn’t in a great mood. Earlier in the afternoon I’d ended a phone call with an external consultant, feeling out of sorts. We are working on a project together and I had found myself becoming irritated with the way they were approaching an important aspect of the project. I was aware that this was starting to become enough of an issue to gently say something but had avoided raising it when, at the end of the call, they asked me for feedback about how I was finding the service they were providing. And even with an open invitation to raise the issue, I still hesitated, until he probed further and I then shared the feedback and we had a perfectly adult and helpful conversation. All was well.
Yet it wasn’t.
Barely an hour later, in a bid to be helpful, he sent an email that annoyed me because it duplicated something I had done earlier and I fired off a slightly snotty reply Dear x, further to your request for feedback earlier I know you are being helpful here, but …. it said and went on to say that what he said in his email had “grated”. He replied apologising, but also politely (and correctly) pointed out that I hadn’t helped matters by not copying him in and I agreed this was a fair cop also acknowledging that my email was a bit blunt, so within minutes we had effectively kissed and made up via cyberspace. No harm done and in the scheme of things, a very minor issue.
And yet in my mind I was replaying over and over the video of what had happened, knowing that something was amiss. Why on earth is this bothering you? I asked myself Let it go. It’s nothing, neither here nor there. Over. Done. But the off-feeling was growing and with that question I suddenly found that I had dialled into my internal dialogue and tuned into Inner Witch FM as my inner critic voice went into overdrive. By the time I walked in to collect my parcel the monologue was in full flow …
So here was a sim-ple opportunity to practice your NLP skills (yes, remember that refresher training you are paying for) and you didn’t take it. You should have just picked up the phone. That’s what you’d tell other people to do, but you didn’t do it. Instead you sent off an email like a petulant child. And you call yourself a coach, you call yourself someone who is meant to have emotional intelligence and help other people develop these skills, pah. You are a total fraud. And EVEN WORSE STILL, you also now have a mantra Stand Tall, Be Brave, Shine On – fat lot of good that did you eh? That was hardly shining, or standing tall was it. I mean, you didn’t even stand tall when the guy invited you to give LOW LEVEL feedback. Like, in terms of potentially going into a difficult conversation, that scenario today barely registered on the conflict scale. And let’s face it, if you can’t even handle something like this, you have NO CHANCE of dealing with the projects that are coming your way this year!!! Really, you just don’t have the backbone. You read all these books and do all this training, and have all these qualifications, but when it comes down to it you are all theory and no practice. And to think that you can also make a career change, well that’s clearly never going to happen is it. Get real!!
And so it went on.
I was now in the queue for my parcel as I became aware that Inner Witch FM was playing and, having been exploring the Three Principles recently began gently saying to myself, I am just living in the feeling of my thinking, I am in the feeling of my thinking … and quickly felt a sense of calm wash over me as I turned my attention back to what was happening. I heard the lady in front say to the man behind the counter that she had no clue what she was coming to collect so it would be a lovely surprise and I chipped in “maybe it’s a gift from Santa” and we laughed. Sure enough, the man returned carrying a strange shaped parcel and she confirmed she had no idea was it was and left. As I handed my slip and showed my ID I told the man I was pretty sure mine was a book and yet when I saw the small envelope I knew it wasn’t and suddenly remembered the necklace. I opened it in the car and there it was, a great big heart. Instantly I knew that, for me, it was too big to wear as a necklace but would be perfect to hang on my office wall at work – yes, I decided, this would be my daily reminder for self-compassion and my Lighthouse Keepers Daughter mantra.
As I drove the rest of the way home I felt happy and calm. Funny, I thought, it’s like the heart arrived just in time. Because actually, if I just remember self-compassion, there is no need to be afraid of challenge, because I will enter into difficult conversations with an open heart. And this doesn’t mean being a pushover, it means not steeling yourself for conflict and defending a position but listening with compassion and accountability. And of course I can handle these projects and whatever else comes when I remember to apply this wisdom. And of course this stuff is coming up, because I am moving out of my comfort zone and it’s challenging. With this perspective, having such an off-feeling about the seemingly insignificant incident earlier, made total sense. It was not because I was stupid or pathetic, but because in that tiny moment some important insight and learning had crystallised at a deeper level. It made me wonder whether Inner Witch FM was my brain’s way of trying to dial in to this deeper wisdom, furiously turning the tuning button, trying to connect to this new frequency and not wanting to be left behind.
By the time I put my key in the door I was experiencing the tingling sensation I get when some new connections have been made and beautiful learning has landed. It always feels like magic to me. It was as if The Universe had indeed delivered a Secret gift from Santa!
Shine on. Love LHKD xxx