Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated, criticised and possibly insulted or offended when receiving feedback on your work from a colleague or supervisor that is not what you expected – particularly feedback that is, or seems to be, somewhat critical?
Have you noticed that when receiving this type of feedback in written form, such as via email, your reaction can be immediate and even stronger than if sitting down with the person? It’s like there is no filter on your reaction and you can fume away in silence, or go into a spin about your abilities, often letting the emotions build although they may never be expressed.
I recently had an opportunity to view email communication very differently when I inadvertently had the same document reviewed by a colleague on separate days, but received vastly different feedback – via email. What unfolded has shown me that we are constantly offered the opportunity to deepen our understanding of ourselves and others through observing and not absorbing. I have also come to realise that, perhaps contrary to the beliefs subscribed to in many workplaces, I do have a choice as to whether I respond or whether I react to such feedback.
At the time, both my colleague and I were faced with multiple deadlines, including the submission date for the document I was working on. In the first email I received, the comments were less than favourable, highlighting a few areas of improvement and an issue to be resolved before submission. With less than 2 days to turn it around I could feel a sense of panic rising in me, but I took a deep, gentle breath and replied to the email that I was feeling somewhat confused about the comments as I felt I had been following direction from another colleague also working on the project.
The next day I received another email with further comments on the document. My colleague expressed that while it still needed work, it could be submitted and revised later. He also thought that perhaps he had been looking at a previous version of the document when he reviewed it the day before. I checked and it was the same version reviewed twice, but clearly at different times, in fact on different days. As I sat with this I could feel how in one instance he had likely been very stressed, tired and frazzled and on the next occasion not so much, as there was a different feel to the email and his response.
We can all relate to having ‘bad’ days, but are we aware of how this affects everything we do and the people we interact with? What I could feel clearly through this experience is that we take every moment of the day to our next activity be it reviewing a document, sending an email, reading an email, having a meeting, preparing food, exercising and so on. It follows then that if we are feeling frustrated, tired, stressed or equally, joyful, gentle, rested, calm, then this ‘quality’ is actually present in whatever activity we are doing. If we then accept “if everything is energy, therefore, everything is BECAUSE of energy” (1) as presented by Serge Benhayon, then does it not make sense that the ‘quality’ we are in, or our emotions, are affecting others, be they felt or not?
I could have chosen to react to the content of the first email and I know from past experiences what that would have looked like: I would have gotten upset, felt that I was not good enough at this stuff, and felt I would never get the document submitted on time and possibly even given up. So what was different this time?
On this occasion I took a moment to feel and observe the quality or emotion behind the email, as well as my own quality at the time. I also acknowledged that I felt hurt by the comments and the way they were delivered and I took a moment to feel the hurt. On reflection, I realise that in letting myself feel the hurt, my body remained open, gentle and calm and then it was simple to respond, not react. Often we want to avoid feeling any hurt and we react by hardening ourselves as a form of protection: we get frustrated, we lash out, we might withdraw. In this state we are more likely to react to everything, as everything is perceived as a threat, that is, something that might hurt us. Add to this the workplace environment, which is not particularly supportive of employees showing or expressing their feelings and thus increasing the likelihood that we are in protection and reaction.
This experience has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of not reacting, of not absorbing or taking on, whatever emotions or energy come with any form of communication, including via emails. To get caught up in reaction is to put our bodies into a stress reaction, which does not support us, those around us, or our work. I have also been reminded of my responsibility with regards to my own energetic quality in every moment, to ensure that I can observe and not absorb and therefore, respond not react. It is up to me to ensure that if I’ve had a ‘bad’ moment that it is not taken to my next activity or it will snowball into a ‘bad’ day.
I also find myself considering how much it could support us all in our workplaces if we were all to explore the wisdom of those few simple words, “Observe and not absorb” (2) and be more open to our own and others’ feelings at work.
- Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 220, UniMed Publishing, 2011.
- Unimed Living. (2017). The Universal Medicine New Year’s Message for 2011 | Unimed Living. [online] Available at: http://www.unimedliving.com/serge-benhayon/the-seer/readings-humanity/the-universal-medicine-new-year-message-for-2011.html [Accessed 25 Sep. 2017].
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649 thoughts on “Learning to not React to Feedback on our Work – the Power of Observing, not Absorbing”
It was refreshing to read this blog again as I’m about to return to work after being on holidays. I found that in this role, I was constantly reacting and putting my body in stress. So it was a no wonder that I was struggling with settling.
What I’m learning more and more is that the more I’m offered, the more fitness level is developing. It’s no longer becoming a routine of things and if anything, you could get stuck in a rut of doing things and being comfortable with that.
We are continually being offered evolution and it may not be how we expect it to be. Our perception is continually tainted if we have expectations of how things need to be, that’s when we get hurt more often. Remove the expectation, then our investments don’t hold us to anything.
‘I could feel how in one instance he had likely been very stressed, tired and frazzled and on the next occasion not so much, as there was a different feel to the email and his response’. I totally understand this statement more and more. Often I find work emails loaded with a lot of the other persons energy, and if we are not in a good place ourselves, then we become affected and take it personally – ‘absorbing’ everything like a sponge. But a sponge can hold so much before it becomes dense. No different to our bodies too.
We learn eventually that ‘observing’ is so much loving to our bodies and ourselves. It is a working progress and the most powerful gift you can offer yourself and the body on a day to day basis. Worth every reaction and response to build this muscle…
I’m also finding that when we become so diluted and trying to do things to prove to yourself or to another, our responses become diluted to the extent that it causes chaos and confusion amongst the team. The affects and effects on the team is multi fold and we then, start to loose not only trust, but commitment to and from the job too.
It is our responsibility as to what quality of energy we allow to run our bodies in every moment of the day, ‘I have also been reminded of my responsibility with regards to my own energetic quality in every moment, to ensure that I can observe and not absorb and therefore, respond not react.’
We have many responsibilities and the one key one is to ourselves. This then paves the way for another to be too, if they so choose to do so. Learning to observe is no different to watching a movie and not getting caught in the emotion of it all…
Shushila I like what you have written that we have many responsibilities and the key one is to ourselves. We do not pay enough attention to ourselves, instead we look outside of ourselves, this leads to an emptiness that we then try and fill by using other people to fulfil our needs. This does not work, I have tried that way of living and it is horrible, because I blamed other people for the misery I was feeling rather than taking responsibility for the way I was living life in complete emptiness.
Our job is simply to catch a reaction as early as possible – to catch when that happens and to cut it then and there. To continue with the reaction is an indulgence and gets us no where but backwards. “To get caught up in reaction is to put our bodies into a stress reaction, which does not support us, those around us, or our work. I have also been reminded of my responsibility with regards to my own energetic quality in every moment, to ensure that I can observe and not absorb and therefore, respond not react. It is up to me to ensure that if I’ve had a ‘bad’ moment that it is not taken to my next activity or it will snowball into a ‘bad’ day.”
Great to call it out Henrietta, ‘To continue with the reaction is an indulgence and gets us no where but backwards.’
The quality we hold in any one moment will be the quality that we then deliver in another moment as one comes from the other. For example if you are stressed and feeling compressed then your delivery will certainly be tainted by that energy of stress and compression, where as if you are free of this then the quality of the delivery will also be lighter.
There is certainly an art in giving and receiving feedback. The art is in getting yourself out of the way.
I work with people in very close proximity with sensory impairments. It’s so obvious that although they may not see or hear your tone, they feel how you are and react/respond to that. Is no different sans impairment, the energy that we are in communicates a lot to others. Knowing what energy is bringing responsibility into the situation.
Life is like a mine field if we go into reaction and we have no where to turn, but once we drop into our Essence, Inner-most-heart / Soul we become a radar for reactivity and respond to every situation life can throw at us, not in perfection because we can get caught with our guard down.
The quality of vibration we hold in every moment is key, what energy are we aligned to.
In offering feedback it is how you express it rather than what you say or write and this is felt by the recipient.
What I am learning is that when we react, it has not been considered. The relationship or person we are reacting to has not been considered, our words have not been considered that we say to the other person and our bodies have not been considered (if we react we are not fully present with our body and mind being one/ steady or have a deep settlement within the body). Whereas if I allow myself to feel what is going on within my body, allow myself to have a settlement within my body (nothing perfect but there and building) and allow myself to read a situation, to feel a feeling, sensing and not ignoring this the less likely I am able to react and the more likely I am able to respond from a place of both consideration and understanding.
Do we react and how do we react (even silently) it is key to be aware of this, as if we are aware of this then we can change it, we can respond in a different way or look at why we have reacted and how. Also if we react then this reaction can be running in the bodies in the background affecting all that we do during our day or days or weeks. This is what I am seeing more clearly as well.
Reaction does not feel great for those reacting, or those around, ‘To get caught up in reaction is to put our bodies into a stress reaction, which does not support us, those around us, or our work.’
I find it is definitely a wise move to read why something is happening or why someone is doing something so looking at the bigger picture rather than just react to the superficial incident or action.
Taking the reading deeper supports us to bring in more understanding.
I really appreciate reading this today, it explains something that happened to me this morning when I received an email answering a request I had made. Whilst I was open to and understanding of the reply being a ‘no’ I was also holding an expectation of a ‘yes’ which then led to a hurt, the ‘no’ answer also came with a quality of energy I didn’t want to feel and acknowledge in full. Looking back now I bypassed that moment I needed to give to myself to simply feel how I felt and resolve the hurt and move on. As a result I have been a bit unsettled today. Giving myself that moment now to sort through it and allow healing to take place has restored my connection to myself.
Great to read how you brought in another level of understanding and healing to support you with restoring your connection with yourself Melinda.
Melinda Knights what you have shared is that we have many pictures and expectations on how life should be according to the ideals and beliefs we have taken on. To give ourselves a stop moment to feel the unsettlement in our bodies is key. Otherwise we build up resentment, frustration, even anger because we didn’t get the results we felt we should have done, or deserved.
When we bring our essence to everything that we do then it is easy to receive feedback from another because we know that what we do is not who we are.
Thanks Elizabeth, that is a great discernment to make.
I have found that how I am with myself does affect how I am with others. In person or via emails, text or on the phone. We are told to be polite at work (and even then it isn’t adhered to in some circumstances) but the quality we are with each other needs mention. It’s something we don’t talk about enough.
Our quality of energy is always key Leigh, I agree.
Not reacting is best and when we do react it is, as you said, important not to act from the reaction but to come back to ourselves first so we can then respond.
And catching the reaction is an art in itself, and in my experience has been one where I have caught it gradually, very gradually and incrementally earlier and earlier.
Henrietta Chang I agree with you from my experience also. My reaction was as immediate as switching on the light and in some cases I went into full blown defence. But as you say catching reactions has been a learning process so that most of the time I do not get caught up in a reaction. If I do I can feel how unsettling it is in my body, so I bring myself back and then dissect why I reacted because this supports me to understand my trigger points, and let’s face it unless we work on them we all have trigger points. Children especially seem to know exactly what buttons to press to get a reaction.
Our sensitivity to any kind of criticism is directly relevant to our self worth and we can either react defensively or use it as an opportunity to learn. The way the criticism is delivered also depends on the mood at the time of the person delivering it, for example, if they are not feeling well, they may sound more ratty than normal. We need to read that and then there is no offence, only understanding.
Absolutely Carmel, read and observe the situation, which helps us deepen our understanding.
I like what you show us here, that we have a choice in every moment and do not have to follow a way of handling things that is so common and habitual for us, that we can stop and take a step back and allow ourselves to observe what is going on instead of getting swept up in the activity and emotions of the day.
We are great because of who we are not because of what we do.
Yesterday someone reacted very strongly to a question I raised, what for me was an innocent question. I replied very quickly in a way that I thought was appropriate yet when I relayed the encounter to a friend she said you mustn’t lash back. I didn’t feel that I had but on further reflection I realised I could have been far more loving in my reply even if the other person was walking away at this point. It is great when we can honestly support each other to look more deeply at what is happening and thus see where our ‘reposts’ come from ..if there is any reaction there and if it is covering up a hurt or maybe even the others, and in that we are protecting them – and us – from deepening.
This experience brings the word ‘self-care’ to another deeper level. Certainly is very healing being at work, at school, at home…wherever we go out there holding a loving quality inside us. This is not weak but a powerful way of being that allows us to see all in transparency. Any energy of competition, hardness or defensiveness melts just because we are present, feeling and observing. Truly we can change the world in a split second.
Observe rather than absorb and reacting to other’s emotions is a very wise way of being wherever we go. I didn’t know this could be possible before knowing Serge Benhayon, but now today is very key in my day to day, very simple and really supportive to approach my daily work harmoniously. It is a choice that brings lightness, fun, joy and a deep appreciation for being me.
Inma Lorente there is so much that we didn’t know that has been exposed by the teachings and presentations by Serge Benhayon. Maybe the hardest teaching to accept or come to terms with is that we do not think, that our movements determine how we think, change our movements and this changes our thoughts. I have tried this out and it certainly works, I was stuck in a dense form of movements which fed me thoughts such as misery, the desire to withdraw from life as what was the point of life we all live in such a messed up way and we don’t seem to care that the way we live is actually harming us. Just look at the health statistics of the world, we are very sick. It’s taken a long time to change the way I move and recently I have found that an exercise class called MoveFit (https://movefit.uscreen.io) is so supportive from being very stiff and controlled in my movements, I’m feeling a lot more fluid in my body and this fluidity is supporting me as I find that my thoughts are very positive and can now say I actually enjoy life. I have put into action what was presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine and it works.
I know the difference between reacting and not reacting rather too well! Not reacting (not absorbing) is so much more loving and not at all exhausting emotionally or energetically. Whereas reaction is like jumping into the muddle pool with someone .. nothing changes or heals in fact with this the situation gets worse.
Most of us consider not reacting to the situation means hardening up and not feeling the hurt. Interesting that what you have observed puts this belief on its head: “in letting myself feel the hurt, my body remained open, gentle and calm and then it was simple to respond, not react”.
Yes…it is like observing and feeling with no judgment to what’s going on, no pictures, just a beholding quality of being with ourselves no matter what, really precious.
Which is a beautiful way to live and we don’t need perfection to live this way, just practice.
Also, not taking things personally whilst observing.
The hardness is a reaction in itself. Reacting isn’t about flying off the handle but can even be in the quiet or polite persona we portray. Often seething underneath.
I can relate to hardening myself in a futile attempt to protect myself. with little understanding that words can be used as lethal weapons, as they enter our bodies without a mark but can be so destructive. That is why the teachings of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine are so important because if we read the energy behind the words spoken or written, then we can stop them from penetrating our bodies so that they cannot poison our bodies. It’s the energy that comes with the words that is so destructive.
There are a couple of points here that call to me. First, are we prepared to express ourselves fully in spite of how it might be received (and not react when someone higher up the decision chain suggests some edits), and then there is the question of how consistent can we be? Imagine if the feedback had been the same, if that was you or I in that position but by being consistent day to day we are able to offer the same reflection.
It is simple Anonymous, we either react or we respond. At the time though it is not so simple. Even, holding ourselves to ‘you must not react’ I feel is not loving. My experience has been, we are usually faced with a system that is run a certain way that does not truly honour us. Accepting the system is like this helps and, accepting you can still be all of you in the system also helps. I wonder how much of us actually are comfortable that systems are like this and, if it was a system that was truly supporting us and we were also being pulled up to be more responsible, would we react?
It works every time: feel and surrender and there is no need to protect or react, the next step taken would be of clarity and appreciation.
Yes, definitely, to ‘Observe and not absorb’. What I am learning is how observation deepens as I become more able to accept what I am feeling. I can feel how it used to be more of a settling with a storyline that would somewhat seem to make sense more in my mind, and that it really needs the body to be there present with what is taking place. There’s much to be felt.
I’m known as a sensitive yet this can be a blessing or hindrance. It becomes a hindrance when every nuance from another is picked up and absorbed as a personal attack as this is destablising. To observe and not absorb what others say or do builds settlement within that is unshakeable.
Yes this really is a huge process, and something that is so powerfully effective in healing to understand and to live
In all situations where feedback is different to what a person has offered, it is important to always hold yourself in deep appreciation of all that you bring and not interpret the feedback as meaning you are less. The space that ‘observing’ allows is very powerful and feel very confirming of the choices that are made from that point on.
A timely reminder for me at the moment to observe and not absorb, thank you.
Life is very different when we make the choice to observe how things feel, rather than reacting to everything. We can be a small boat knocked by the waves or we can be steady ship. We get to choose and observing life and being honest about how it feels is where we need to start.
The great thing about work, is how there are certain rules that we all need to adhere to and be accountable to, and how there are consequences to not following these rules. So with this basic structure in place, all that is left is to raise the standards of these rules, bit by bit, so that the quality of life at work is constantly developing towards greater and greater respect and understanding.
I used to hate, and often felt humiliated, when I went into reaction when ‘told off’, but these days most of the time I welcome the lesson and the awareness I am being offered, and yes there is always something. It can still feel uncomfortable, especially if my reaction is a bit extreme, but as long as I make sure I am still connected to me I know that the lesson will show itself, and then of course it’s up to me as to whether I choose to take it on board or not
“I welcome the lesson and the awareness I am being offered,`’ I agree Ingrid. There is learning in every situation and interaction. We learn most from our reactions and discomfort especially when things don’t go our way or as we expected.
I can clearly see, that it is when “when things don’t go our way or as we expected” that we can go into the biggest reaction. It is as if we have already mapped out the future and now suddenly someone is taking that away from us. Yes, expectations that are not fulfilled can be the biggest test of accepting that things will not always go the way we planned.
Tanya Curtis of FABIC uses an apt expression ‘smashed pictures’ to describe this. When first introduced to it, gave me an ‘ahah’ moment as I became aware of how I had set myself up to be constantly disappointed! We’re often not open to what is before us because we’ve already ‘mapped out the future’ instead of living life in the here and now and as offered to us.
This is a great learning to let go of individuality and not see feedback as totally personal. It also shows that how people are living is so key to how we express and share with each other and that we have a responsibility in terms of how we live and therefore how we are with others.
Spot on HM – any reaction to something is the individuality arcing up and wanting to take hold. If we can see everything for this (the energetic outplay) that it is, then it is easier to step back and give oneself the space to simply be and observe what is happening and hence not react but respond as needed.
It’s great to have this bigger picture presented how often it’s not about us, but can be that the other is tired, etc. and this highlights how we need to read and discern what is going on and to be open, observe and understand and the example given here is a great reminder of how when we do stay open and observe we allow another the space to come back to being themselves.
I agree Monica, very often ‘It’s not about us’ and when we make it so, we limit the opportunity offered to respond with understanding and wisdom.
Staying open and observing, and so giving another space – however much they need as we have been given.
The reflections we have from other people at work are invaluable as they cover every aspect of life. From things like observing how naturally gentle they are, how playful, how they handle making mistakes or how reactive they are and if resentment plays out. The list is endless.
Yes, I have learnt heaps from being at work and being willing to look at my relationships and consciously work on them.
Work and family are divinely designed for us to see ourselves and relationships with others more clearly, if we’re open to.
When receiving feedback I always fine that it is very important not to give our power away whilst at same time being open to hearing what is being presented.
The Gentle Breath Meditation’ supports us with this. Connecting to our breath, makes it much easier for us to ‘hear what is being presented’.
I too have found how observing what is going on has really helped me stay steady during the day, the more I observe the less I am caught off guard and if I do go into reaction I look at where or what happened that made me drop my awareness and it becomes a constant learning.
Yes Sally, the beauty of accepting our constant unfolding is the learning offered. Being caught ‘off guard” and unawares is by divine design and offers the greatest opportunity to learn.
Observation is awesome, especially when it is applied to ourselves for all the mistakes that can be made and viewed without judgement.
I can add another saying to this mix which as wise friend said to me the other day – ‘reflect not react’. And I have been using that a lot lately, so when I start to react, I (as much as I can) stop the reaction and start to ask myself, why am I reacting? what’s got me so hot under the collar? Do I have a part to play in this scenario? It helps enormously – especially when you are absolutely honest.
Sarah Flenley that’s a great question to start with
“Why am I reacting? What’s got me so hot under the collar? ” Or what energy has entered to press my buttons so that I feel I have to defend myself?
By taking a step back it is then possible to read the game being played by the energy that is always looking for a reaction as this keeps us all away from God. If we could truly understand that life is set up in such a way that constantly keeps us from accessing God by keeping us all in the emotion of reaction, then we would understand that if we applied the opposite and didn’t react to the energy we would have instant access to God.
Not only do we have to deal with what’s coming at us in the form of criticism for whatever reason but we also have to deal with other people in verbal combat with each other – this I have always found to be difficult. So, far the only way I have found is to acknowledge that it hurts when people are like this with each other and to get some understanding as to why and what’s going on for them. As in are their own hurts from childhood being triggered by each other, is there control issues or are they reflecting to each other what they do not want to see in themselves – the list is endless.
To be open to not just our own feelings at work but also discern why others behave like they do.
This way we get a deeper understanding that it has got nothing to do with us but their own issues. This way we can offer a holding of love.
More and more I stay steady with myself in one of my work environments and notice what a difference this makes. The person criticising( in reaction) gains a respect for us as we observe and understand what is happening. Now to be able to live this in all areas of work.
The thing is if we react at work, or even at home to someone we lose our ability and our clarity to help support that person. The best way we can change a situation is by remaining steady and super loving and providing a steadfastness that others can rely on and be supported to resource their own steadfastness.
Very true Meg, even if we know the other person is not being loving the moment we try to go into the right and prove a point we too are gone and so no longer can discern or feel what is going on. And as you say we then can no longer support the person as we have gotten caught up in the energy.
There are no threats to someone that chooses to move confirming him/herself. This helps to generate a quality that impress everything we do and help us to deal with how others react to what carry our impress. But if you impress something being in disconnection to your body and you react from the same quality, this is a different ball game altogether.
It is important to recognise when feedback is for the development of oneself or when it is a direct criticism, because the latter does not foster understanding because it is hurtful.
Which begs the question of what can we do when something is hurtful? If we are not invested in the outcome, or being right, then its much easier to just see whatever happened for what is really going on rather than as a personal challenge / put down.
Absolutely, not take it personally.
The key for me is to come back to worth. To then express with this quality in any response.
“This experience has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of not reacting, of not absorbing or taking on, whatever emotions or energy come with any form of communication, including via emails.” Not reacting to life is one of the biggest lessons we have to learn if we are to truly bring all of who we are to the world.
The power of observing is a wonderful way to support our inner healing. We can so often head down the path of reaction and judgement but when we stop to connect and feel what is truly going on the levels of understanding are felt to explore.
To be able to observe life and not take things personally is a game changer, we can then be free to respond to any situation in front of us and be more understanding and accepting of others.
It sure is a game changer and then from this place of observation we get to understand clearly what is going on and what energies are at play and so can then bring our all from love to the situation and not out of reaction trying to fix or change something.
A gorgeous way to live our life, for self, and for others Anna.
The power of observation is the ability to receive what is being expressed by another instead of interpreting what words ‘may mean’ — if you do not truly listen and feel what is said it could be called ‘may-hem’. Observing and reading the depth brings an understanding in knowing where another is at, and where you are at through reflection.
It is important to never take anything personally for only then can we consider what has been said from an observational viewpoint.
I can relate Ariana as I can feel when I react emotionally the ripple effect of my actions on others is not only unfair but totally disrespectful and is something I just don’t want to impose on others any more.
That your work colleague gave two different assessments or reviews of the same document goes to show how when we get frazzled and don’t stay on purpose we can easily make errors in judgment. I can really feel how when I go into overwhelm myself this happens all too easily.
As children we have an enormous ability to simply observe life. Part of our education ought to be how we can remain observing life whilst not reacting/judging. Serge Benhayon first presented the teaching on how to observe and not absorb/react to life back in 1999.
The less identified we are with our work the more we are able to receive feedback about it, whether it is positive or negative.
“This experience has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of not reacting, of not absorbing or taking on, whatever emotions or energy come with any form of communication, including via emails.” . . . Now this is great advice for any workplace situation. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Work is the place where through our commitment and engagement with all that there is, we get to evolve, and part of that is learning to observe fully the activity of those we work with.
Learning to not react takes time and much effort, but first, it takes to being in commitment to self in every way – building that foundation of strength within so that it becomes possible to observe and not absorb every little thing. This is definitely a lifelong project that will take years to master… but, as they say, every journey begins with the first step and if we don’t take that 1st step we will never know what the end result could be!
It is amazing what happens when we stop reacting and allow things to unfold. It takes the push and the drive out of things and allows us to connect more deeply with others.
This also is relevant when we are talking to employees or any one who enters the workplace with us. I used to think constructive criticism, either giving or receiving was the way to go but now I see that staying deeply connected and expressing with love the truth that we know in our hearts is all that is needed.
For so many of us work is a major issue and yet at the same time it can be the one thing that supports us to have purpose in our lives, the key as you share is that ability to observe and not get drawn in, I’m also finding that when we observe and are then faced with the truth, it’s what we do with that.
I so much prefer communications on a face to face basis and it doesn’t lead to mis-interpretations which is followed by reactions.
It is often the face to face that brings more than just the words that are expressed to communicate.
It is true that how we are affects everyone – as is highlighted here – it is so evident that we can be in 2 different states on different days depending on what we are taking on or reaction to or not reacting to.
When we feel down and out, stressed or overwhelmed, we often blame our To Do list and the fact that things are just ‘too busy’, but could we instead address the QUALITY rather than quantity of what we are doing and assess whether in fact our activities and conversations are draining us because we are absorbing rather than observing life?
This highlights something I’ve noticed recently in myself and those around me … if we take things personally we each come from our own version of right and nothing changes, but if we can take a breathe and allow ourselves the space to observe and understand any hurts we may be feeling we open up the space for a very different type of response, and we find a different way to be and work with another.
The justification game comes into full force when we are not observing what is offered in the workplace from the feedback of our roles. When we observe and feel the intentions of the communication, we can often read another level that is not offered to us when we go straight into reactions or hurts.
I learn every time I open an email or speak to people that what we hear and what is being said can be interpreted in many different ways. What we say and how we say it can be very different to how it is perceived. Observing and not absorbing is medicine!
We can learn a lot from feedback if we do not give our power away to the person who is giving us the feedback.
To go into reaction causes a huge ripple throughout our body as the hurt that has been triggered begins to awaken and expand. As most can probably attest to, it feels horrible at that moment so we then tend to go into self-protection mode, justification, explanation, anything to say we have done nothing ‘wrong’. And unless we are able to separate the hurt from the initial issue the ripples from the reaction will continue to flow and grow. ‘Learning not to react’ is one of the most supportive lessons we could possibly learn.
‘or go into a spin about your abilities’… it used to take the slightest comment, not always directed at me, to trip me into a downward spiral of self-doubt and self-criticism, feeding the beast that I carried around of lack of self-worth. I can still feel the residue of this when I am challenged in any relationship (work, home, friends) but building respect for the qualities we all bring to the table, arrests this old pattern and leaves me much clearer in each situation to not react but to learn, deepen my understanding of everything at play and stay open in my interactions with others.
In a recent conversation with someone, she expressed to me how I had upset her, for which I instantly took responsibility for and thereafter changed my ways to be more honouring and respectful. The growth in our relationship which has followed has been beautiful, there is an honesty between us which I treasure. And I know that this is due in part to my willingness to be accountable for myself – knowing that I am not perfect and will often need to be called to account for my behaviours, but that this is not a bad thing, it is just part of being human, being in groups, and learning.
To observe things at work is an attitude, we should take, especially with computers, and emails. So easy to ‘just” any email that is coming towards us.
I can relate to the workplace not being accepting of feelings and our sensitivity that everyone has. But do I allow my feelings to be fully known to those I work with? Or do I work hard at keeping them contained. I feel the latter is true at this moment but I know I can share my feelings with others so what are the conditions I have accepted that say I can’t do that at work?
I recently shared with my work colleagues that I had learnt a lot about myself in how I had been dealing with feedback on a big project I had been working on and that it was clearly an ongoing process as I kept discovering things about myself I hadn’t considered before. The meeting was very different from that moment on as it seemed we all got an opportunity to own our own responses or reactions rather than blame anyone else when we discussed our next event. It was quite a lesson to observe the power of simply sharing with out indulging.
Observing ourselves without judgment (reaction) in situations provides such a great foundation for being the same way with others.
Simply reading ‘without judgement’ seems to make more space for me to breathe… I look forward to when we have made living free of judgement our normal.
” On this occasion I took a moment to feel and observe the quality or emotion behind the email, as well as my own quality at the time. I also acknowledged that I felt hurt by the comments and the way they were delivered and I took a moment to feel the hurt ”
Feeling the hurt is a huge step in understanding the fear of rejection, for rejection is our ultimate nightmare.
Life is like a play. We buy into the story line and find ourselves getting aggravated and antsy, we need to look around at the stage and be reminded it’s not all it seems. Thank you Anonymous for the prompt here.
Letting down my guard and being more open, honest and sometimes therefore vulnerable with the people I work with has had an amazing impact on my sense of well being and my love for the work I do.
I think if someone gives us genuine feedback from the perspective of helping us grow and evolve it’s actually amazing, I think when we react it’s when we feel judged. One of my life principles is that no matter what situation I’m in I utilise it to the max, so I learn, grow and become a stronger and more loving person, and this is definitely a principle I turn to in difficult moments.
Could it be that when we feel judged by another it is a reflection being shown to us of the judgement and criticism that we can sometimes give towards ourselves? We are essentially reacting towards how we have been living in relationship to ourselves… I know this has certainly been the case with me.
We cannot hide and pretend that everything is ok when energetically it isn’t even when we claim that we do not verbalise it. We may not go on or harp on about things but it is fact that we are affected by everyone and everything whether seen or unseen.
We can not underestimate our capacity to observe. Its not about standing back and not being involved but allowing someone else to be in their own emotional state – whatever that maybe, without taking it on. The more we can observe, we begin to see the layers of our own reactions so that we can say no to reacting and remain in observation. Being in observation is a blessing for oneself, for taking on and owning the emotions of others is toxic to ourselves. But it is also a blessing for the other as they get the opportunity to feel what they have chosen too.