Just before the pandemic broke out here in the United States back in March, I made the decision to hire a career coach. Shortly after, I didn’t receive a paycheck….and then another. I was, at once, worried that I had been foolish and invested a fairly significant amount of money in exploring my potential when I should have squirreled it away in a tree somewhere or hidden it under the bed. But I pushed forward and was assigned a coach. I never looked back.
None of that is my point. As Hannah (my career coach) would say, I have buried the lead.
Hiring Bonfire Coaching was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I often describe their efforts (for me at least) as career coaching for the soul. What I intended to be a professional exploration exercise turned out to be a journey in personal growth and isn’t that what we should all be looking for when we are considering what steps to take to engage in a truly rewarding career?
But again, still not the point of this post…..
To be honest, getting back around to the point may be a challenge here but I will try. I think the fastest way is to mention one of the reasons I approached Bonfire in the first place. I thought it was because I found myself in a caustic workplace and was unable to focus on the light and love and joy in my personal life because I was so consumed by frustration in my professional life. And I suppose that is an apt roadmap to describe how I found myself on the doorstep of Bonfire. I was neck-deep in negativity and was just sorta wallowing there – and that is not my personality. I was truly in a work to live situation and I hated that I allowed myself to feel so trapped.
Ugh…I am still dancing. Perhaps because identifying the cause of my unhappiness with work will reveal too much, not about me but about my job and the people associated with that job, and I don’t feel right casting blame in such a public place.
I’ll say this. In the beginning of my sessions with Bonfire, I did not have the tools to appropriately manage the negative feelings that were popping up on a more and more regular basis as a result of having to deal with difficult personalities. It’s not that I have not dealt with similar personalities in the past but this was different – it was just so…in my face. So I vented…and vented and vented because that is what I thought I needed and what I was accustomed to doing. But Hannah? She didn’t allow it. She suggested strategies to manage my own perspective and we worked on my “why” – developing my story and working on painting the picture (literally) of what I’d love to be doing in my life. Because my story? My story has nothing to do with someone’s behavior I can’t control. It has everything to do with my heart and my vision for my life.
So, that is how I come to the title of this blog. “Cover the moment with mercy.” I’d love to give attribution here but I cannot for the life of me remember where I heard it. But I wrote it down and stuck it to the wall on a tiny post-it.
You see, my friends. We all have choices in how we handle difficult people and circumstances. What doesn’t work – what never works – is casting blame and allowing yourself to stay in that moment of resentment. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is to change our perspective or, as Hannah so eloquently put it – we have to “change the dance”. For me, that was approaching these frequently caustic and negative interactions with curiosity (another tool provided by Bonfire and Hannah) and perspective. At this point, it’s almost as if I have written a permanent hall pass and pre-forgiven these behaviors before they have a chance to get into my psyche.
If I feel an argument coming or if hopelessness and gloom are knocking at the door, I cover those moments with mercy. I forgive the moment…the person…the situation. I look at it through a different lens and try to appreciate it for what it is which is mostly, out of my control.
That doesn’t mean I don’t defend myself or support others who need to have their voice heard but I try to do it from a place of empathy and compassion. And then I move on. I remove myself from the cynical thoughts and do something…anything…for myself that reminds me that there is so much more to life than sitting with bleakness.
I will be the first to tell you that I haven’t got it all figured out and that “figuring it out” is hard. Sometimes, it’s best to proceed with baby steps. Fix the things you can, right now. Make a budget. Go on a walk. Journal. Read a book. Make a healthy meal. Maybe don’t start drinking before noon, I dunno. And like I said in an earlier post, give yourself credit for the positive changes you’ve made in your life. But don’t stop there – keep dreaming. “Dust off your dreams,” Tina Marie said in a recent Facebook live discussion. Always ask yourself the question – what would you love? What would make you happy, fulfilled, joyful….
Shit. I’ve done it again. Mercy, Lindsey, mercy….
When all else fails, cover the moment with mercy. Remember that we are all human and that forgiveness and empathy are not only helpful in managing relationships but they are also the key to a healthier you. Harboring regret, resentment, and anger only has the undesirable consequence of making you a lesser functioning person. No one reaches the pinnacle of success and joy by carrying out campaigns of revenge and animosity. Offer perspective – even if you’re only offering it to yourself. You can’t always change your audience’s opinion but you can change the way you view the message of your heart. Not everyone is capable of hearing that message but the most important audience of your heart….is you.