When I think about some of the things I have done in my life, with what I know now I might choose to do some of them differently. That said, I do believe I was doing the best I could with my view of the world at the time.
In fact it reminds me of a young man I once saw, who wanted to explore how he could be more assertive in the face of bullying. He had been bullied at school, and then had dropped out of college, as he had felt bullied again and it now appeared to be happening again with his manager at work. He was beginning to feel trapped.
The first time he came to see me I was met with an averagely built young man, who appeared a bit downhearted, with a slight sense of hopelessness about him.
During our first session we talked about what had happened at school. He was judging himself pretty harshly for how he had addressed it at the time. As we chatted he saw that given his age, he had actually dealt with it pretty well.
On his next visit he appeared to have grown a few inches and when we began to talk his frame of mind was clearer too.
We moved on to his dropping out of college. He spoke again about being bullied but this time I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable. As he spoke about what had happened I had the sense that his responses were at the very least pretty defensive, possibly more.
We then explored his relationship with his current manager and as we did he had an insight. He saw that he had become very defensive and was on a bit of a hair-trigger. He realised he was incredibly sensitive to advice, feedback or guidance and whenever there was even a hint of those he would ‘get in first’.
At first he was horrified but as we explored further he saw that he’d been doing the best he could given how he was experiencing his circumstances at the time.
The last time I saw him was a couple of weeks later he seemed to have grown again, to the point I asked him how tall he was, and it turned out he was actually well over 6 foot!
In our final session he shared that his relationship with his manager had transformed and they were getting on well and he was enjoying his job. In fact his relationships across the board seemed easier, happier and more relaxed.
The last I heard from him he was continuing his work part-time, having returned to college to finish the course from which he had previously dropped out.
I’ve noticed in my own experience that my world changes when I do. It’s not that bad things don’t happen to good people, they do. But there is something about our inner wisdom that can guide us, even in challenging of circumstances, if we let it.
According to Albert Einstein “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” these days I agree, what about you?