A few weeks ago I was dealt a nasty blow at work that completely blindsided me. Someone I trusted, confided in, and thought would "have my back" threw me under the bus. After it all happened, I left work, shell shocked, and took a few mental health days in order to process what had happened.
During that time, I allowed myself to seethe and feel whatever I needed to feel. I definitely had a few of what Oprah calls "help me Jesus moments" because I just wanted to quit. If I didn't like going to work before, then this latest situation made the thought of going back even more painful. But back to work I went, and for the first week, as much as I hated being there, I got through it. Not only did I get through it, but I stayed focused and did what was assigned to me. Here's the thing, I could either sit there for eight hours in a completely miserable state, or I could get my work done and focus on the few things about my current work situation that actually make me happy and give me hope. Mindfulness has been tremendous in my healing, because when I feel the anger, depression, or frustration starting to take over, I remind myself that what's done is done and I should stay focused on the present. I don't have time to ruminate over what happened because I need to focus on my plan to get out of my current situation. Where I am now is only temporary. And as horrible as this current situation is, I am so grateful for it because it strengthens my resolve to work hard and get out. To my colleagues who say this is as good as it gets, I respectfully disagree. I am positive that there is something more for me out there. I know this is true because I've already met people who are helping me on my journey out of here. These are great people who are taking the time to educate me and train me in new skills.
Three weeks later, I can say I'm at peace with everything. I can now bring myself to share what happened and how I'm getting through it all. Trust me, being present is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you feel like you've been kicked in the gut by someone who you thought was looking out for you. But I know now just how strong I really am. I come to work and I hold my head up high because I know the truth. The people who threw me under the bus can think whatever they want about me, but here's the thing. At the end of the day, THEY don't define me. I do. I know my value. I know my worth. I know what I bring to the table when I work with a great group of people and am truly engaged.
And as we all know, life is full of disappointment and joy. So while I had to deal with this disappointment a few weeks ago, the tides have turned because I was recently given a really interesting assignment by a great group of people outside of my current group. So already, things are looking up again. And as I mentioned earlier, practicing gratitude has helped. As ridiculous as that sounds, it's true. All my mentors teach the importance of gratitude, even for the crap life throws our way. So yes, I'm grateful for my current work situation and the emotionally unintelligent people I work with, however awful they may sometimes be, because they have taught me exactly how I DON'T want to conduct myself. They have shown me that my values just are not in alignment with the culture that is cultivated here. And I'm so grateful for that, because again, it's another reminder to stay focused, learn new skills, and put my worth and value somewhere else where it will be appreciated.
I don't know how I would have gotten through this without my mindfulness practice. If this had happened before I started practicing meditation, I'm sure I wouldn't have handled it as well as I did this time, and I certainly wouldn't be at peace with things in a few short weeks. While I still struggle daily with thoughts of the past, I now have the awareness to realize that I'm creating my own drama in my head, so I gently remind myself that rehashing the past does nothing, and I go back to focusing on the breath or whatever I happen to be doing. For any fellow mindfulness meditators, hasn't your practice helped you get through some of your toughest times? It's one thing to practice mindfulness when things are going relatively well in life, but after a disappointing setback, THAT'S where you really get to see the benefits of having a regular practice. At least that's what I've observed with myself over the last few weeks, and that's just another important reason I continue to practice.