What I’m learning right now is: to accept and befriend the parts of me that others criticize.
I started work in a hospital setting about a year and a half ago. I had no idea it would be so stressful. I’ve heard the phrase before that “nurses eat their young” (FYI there are some amazing ones out there) but I’ve moreso experienced that “everyone eats everyone else”. The gossip, the criticism, the backstabbing, the bullying, the judging, the rumors created out of hurt pride, everyone talking about everyone else. Or being directly aggressive to others they deem weaker. I know it happens other places too.
As a newer person in this environment who is also one of the youngest, female, introverted, and naturally avoidant to conflict, I have experienced many of these things. There are very nice people who I’m glad to have met to work with but the aggression from others has really thrown me off my feet. At times the rejection or passive-aggressive comments from others has ruined my entire day, week, and inspired me to reject myself. But I started reading “Boundaries for Your Soul” by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller, and highly recommend it. It talks about identifying parts of your soul that are either hiding as exiles or “acting out”, befriending them, inviting Jesus to be there, and becoming less fragmented. The authors compare this to the movie Inside Out-which if you haven’t seen it, is a great movie and accurate with psychological research.
And with my situation I realized two primary parts of me were struggling-the shy part of me feeling shut down by the criticisms and rejection, and the angry part of me wanting to break free to breathe fire on everyone. Truth be told, I was stressed every day fighting them for a long time trying to “stay professional”, to do what I’m supposed to do as a Christian, and get all my coworkers to like me. But after reading this book I realize the shy girl in me has protected me from a lot of home problems growing up-and even as an adult from other aggressive adults by creating a barrier between me and them. Ironically the shy girl in me is probably the strongest for weathering against so much. The anger is trying to stand up to protect me which is more than what most anyone has done for me in my life.
I found a newfound appreciation for Shyness and Anger who have tried to help me more than most people have. They’ve been there through it all. With that being said, I want to live by my Spirit-led self; Christ in me, and know things that used to help me before may be hurting me now how they’re being used. So I’m working on abiding in Christ to let Christ in me love them and befriend them. To have Anger help me advocate for myself, stand tall, and speak out against what I see is wrong. To have Shyness help me create boundaries against people who are unsafe (because she is the toughest of them all). To work with them for a common goal, maybe even have them work together, but not let them drive the bus-a calm adult is needed for that, which is Christ in me.
Something I’ve felt with this process for maybe the first time is: more compassion for myself. Not in a narcissistic way but because God loves me and has given me that value. Having certain parts of my soul trying to protect me (even if not the best way outwardly at times) has warmed my heart.
So if anyone else is struggling with feeling rejected, criticized, or wrongfully treated-at work or just in life-I hope you find some compassion for yourself. God loves you.