I recently got some feedback I thought was unfair. I felt I hadn’t been listened to, that I hadn’t been understood, and certainly hadn’t been met with any goodwill. For a while, there was a ball of hot emotions in my stomach. Ok, so that was my experience, such was my reality on that day. What was I to do now?
The first time I remember having had that feeling I was around four years old. It was at kindergarten, and I had voiced an opinion about something. Now, with hindsight and the experience of an adult, I see that it wasn’t important, but to the child that I was then, it was a huge deal.
The adults around me didn’t listen and didn’t take notice of me, and I felt enraged and unfairly treated. I dug my heels in and decided that this was an issue of principle. For the longest time I didn’t back down and didn’t calm down. For the longest time I felt awful.
A part of me was now transported back in time to the child that I had been, and I felt emotions stirring in me that, if I simply reacted to them, might seem a little unacceptable. So I needed to make sense of it all, to find an appropriate way to deal with it.
The first thing I did was to talk to the child in me.
I comforted the child, acknowledged how she was feeling and reassured her. In meditation I cradled the child that was me, until I felt secure again. It was so cleansing, so purifying. I felt fresh and calm again, and more myself.
The second thing I did was read a poem.
This is a poem that I refer to as a guide when I need some advice. It’s a bit like going to my grandma for advice. You might know the poem, it’s written by Kipling and called “If”. There are a few lines that I look to when meeting with adversity, and they read:
“If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.”
To me, these words are not about indifference, or about shutting off my emotions. To me, these words are about dignity and grace. I am reminded that as good things and bad things happen, I am the same person. I need to conduct myself with integrity and compassion, whether things go well for me or not.
It is in the face of adversity that we are tested, as it is in the face of success we might lose ourselves.
Kipling’s words help keep me grounded, and assist me in processing my emotion and choosing how to react. So what did I do?
Well, I decided that it wasn’t that important. I also acknowledged that they had a point, and that perhaps I needed to adapt my position. And my delivery.
But most importantly, I felt really grateful for having had the opportunity to revisit these issues. I was grateful I’d had a chance to learn from my experience, and to grow as a person. I feel like I’ve learned a lot since I was four.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild