I understand why people write blogs. Sometimes it’s to help others; other times, it’s to share information or gather insights about our own experiences. When I sit down to write, I reflect on what I want to share and on things that I have experienced, good or bad.
Over the last few years, I have faced my ups and downs. I have had to make some unpleasant decisions that affected other people’s lives, and I have repeatedly confronted my shortcomings. I don’t care how old one is; facing our shortcomings is hard. However, genuinely looking inward makes us so vulnerable.
I have been in leadership from the very beginning of my work career. After graduating from college, I landed a job in a management training program with the federal government. As a result, I have loads of experience in leadership. Also, leadership is my area of study in both my doctoral programs. As a result, I tend to have very high expectations of people holding leadership roles. My expectations can be exhilarating for some and exhausting for others. Dare I say, demoralizing to others.
Recently, called into question was my leadership. A person I felt I was holding accountable stated that because I asked him “why” in several instances, I made him feel “unsafe” and “demoralized.” I was baffled! More than that, I felt insulted. I thought about that interchange for days. I even prayed about it. Although I prayed, I could not shake his comments. His comments bothered me.
I revisited the meeting in my mind and recalled his posture as I sat there and listened to him. In several instances, I felt he was passive-aggressive. I was sure he purposefully used trigger words to disarm me and come in for the kill. As he spoke, all I could think about was how he misrepresented certain situations we had discussed. I felt he was gaslighting me; for days, his words stuck with me as I tried to shake them off. I kept telling myself, Reflect Christ, reflect Christ, but my anxiety and frustration was getting the best of me.
I have always felt that as distance happens between an event and yourself, the less you feel the pain. After several days, I could stop and take a good look at myself. I asked, are you purposefully trying to demoralize anyone? Do you try to intimidate? My answer was an emphatic No. However, I did learn from that situation that I am still growing. I get hurt like anyone else when others misunderstand my words or actions.
I believe God’s grace bridges our shortcomings. The Word of God says that “His mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.” At some point, we will all face conflict. We will all be misunderstood. We can sit and stew in misunderstandings or look at them as opportunities for growth. I intend to do the latter. We can also hold a grudge, but as a Follower of Christ, I choose to try to reflect His image everyday.