This was first published on KSL.com
I am reading your book Choosing Clarity and love it. It has really helped me to change how I feel about myself, but my biggest struggle is the relationship with my boss. Most days I feel that he doesn’t care about me at all and thinks I’m no good, in spite of the fact that I’m good at what I do. I have asked for some positive feedback, but all I get is negative. There is no rapport or "how are you" or anything like that. I don't know what else I can do, other than avoid interacting with my supervisor and/or find another job. I don’t want to leave this job, but this person will never approve of me or treat me the way I deserve. I think I will always feel worthless here. Is there anything else can I do?
Yes, you have more control here than you think. Even when you cannot change another person or the situation, you can always change YOU and your perspective, which can completely change how you feel about it.
In this article I'm going to teach you a new technique for doing this.
You must first understand that everything you experience today is filtered through your past experiences. They have created a perspective that works like a filter and distorts or even creates what you think you see. There is no reality. Everything you see and feel is just perception. You cannot see your life outside of it.
But you can change your narrative and create a new perspective. As the wise Marcus Aurelius said, “Life itself is but what you deem it.”
You have the ability to create or drastically change the story you are telling yourself, which will change how you feel. But to do this you will also have to step back and own the emotions you are bringing to the situation, but blaming your boss for.
The late and great Wayne Dyer used to demonstrate this by bringing an orange on stage. He would ask the audience if he squeezed the orange would apple juice come out? Grape juice? Of course not, orange juice would come out because that is what is inside an orange. Squeezing doesn’t produce the juice though. It just brings out whatever is already inside it.
You are very much like that orange. When life squeezes you (through difficult situations or challenges) what comes out?
Does self-pity, overwhelming hopelessness, insecurity, anger, fear, pride, jealousy come out? If these things show up when you feel stressed, insulted or mistreated you must understand the situation isn’t creating these emotions. The situation is just squeezing you and what is already inside you is coming out.
This means you already had issues with these emotions and you owned this problem before this person showed up.
Take a minute and think about how you subconsciously react when mistreated or stressed. What emotions do you experience? Is there a pattern here? Is this an emotion or a narrative you have experienced again and again in your life, though the specific situation is different?
You may have unresolved emotions in your past that created this issue and it’s now a sore (easy to trigger) spot with you. This means you are automatically quick to feel this way. I would guess from your question that you have some insecurity issues and fears of not being good enough (that you’ve probably carried with you for a long time). You may have fears around being disliked or not approved of. Your boss is triggering these in you, but he is not creating them.
It is very important you do not blame your boss (or anyone else in your life) for making you feel anything. No one can make you experience a feeling without your participation in creating it. If you didn't already have a weakness or tendency for that emotion or experience, his behavior wouldn't create it.
I believe because life is a classroom the universe is constantly providing teachers for you, who squeeze you so you can see what you have inside and need to work on. This interesting experience with your boss is giving you a chance for you to grow and become stronger, smarter and more in control of yourself and your perspective. Your boss is in your life to serve your growth.
I would encourage you to use this situation to overcome some of your subconscious insecurities and fears. Here is one way to do that:
Sit down with some paper and write out your current story about your horrible situation at work. Pour out all your anger, insecurity and fear. Let yourself vent and have a pity party about it.
Then, get a fresh piece of paper and write a different (healthier and more accurate) story or perspective about your situation. Use principles of truth to guide this, like the fact that your value is infinite and unchangeable, which means it isn’t tied to your boss’s feedback. Write about how this experience is just a lesson to help you grow. Write about how other people’s bad behavior towards you has more to do with their fears about themselves than it does about you.
Write a new attitude of compassion and love towards your boss and decide to see him as a great person with the same value as you, who is just struggling. Write a new attitude about how you are succeeding at work because you always do your best and create more value than required. Write a positive, powerful, optimistic perspective and make this your new mindset.
Then, read it daily or record it on your phone and listen to it throughout the day. Use the power of conscious choice to override your old story. You may even want to burn the paper with the old story on it and let it go. It was only a perspective option.
You are writing your life story (either consciously or unconsciously) with every thought you think. It is time to start controlling the story and living the life you want to experience. You can change the narrative and change how you feel completely. You can also apply this technique to any situation.
You really can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and mental health at work expert.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.