This Can't Be Life (Cubicle Confinement) by thomashubbard
Hum anity longs for peace; between people, communities and nations. Yet, there is an arena in dire need of healing that is rarely addressed. The workplace, where millions of people spend the majority of their waking hours, is comprised of a web of egos battling and competing for power and validation . Managers are disempowering employees, co-workers are hurting and sabotaging one another and the environment is often fraught with blame, paranoia, rivalry, insecurity, gossip and greed. It is literally an emotional combat zone.
Fear of reprisal prevents people from addressing or even acknowledging the pain they are suffering. The atmosphere of reaction and counter reaction feeds on itself and is difficult to see or escape when you are engaged in it. Even so, my audiences from a multitude of industries throughout the country say it is true; people are suffering.
Your job is not your identity
As a way to cope in the confusion and often cutthroat environment, we create roles we mistakenly believe will win respect and security. We unconsciously and sometimes very deliberately devise schemes to gain power, approval, and financial security--all entrenching us in the current culture of reaction and counter-reaction.
We have become so connected to these artificial identities that we have forgotten who we really are. But we are not these identities--they are simply roles we play in the workplace and they belie our incredible authentic power. More than ever before, it is time to rebuild relationships in the workplace by honoring the spirit in ourselves and others that is residing beneath our self-created identities.
With the current ego-driven, top down management in today's workplace, millions of people in businesses of all sizes and various industries, feel as though they are in prison with little freedom of self expression. Fear of losing their jobs, especially in these economically challenging times, causes people to cling to their jobs for security in the very place that brings up all their insecurities. Though difficult to admit, most people are weary of the on-going drama, wishing for a better environment but feeling stuck, with few options. But even if they leave one workplace "stage", without an internal shift, they will find the same issues in the new workplace.
I would like to share a process that I believe will help each one of us find our own authentic power and inner peace, even in the workplace. As we awaken and remember who we are, we stop playing our roles in the workplace drama. As we, one by one wake up, we begin to unravel the web of interacting egos in the workplace. As we awaken, we simultaneously give others the opportunity to do the same.
Understanding the competitive work atmosphere
When working in a business that is fear based and driven by internal competition, you may have become confused and overwhelmed by the relationship issues. The competitiveness prevents teamwork, cooperation, joy and satisfaction. Even those who seem to thrive on competition can become discouraged by the never ending pressure and related rivalry. I believe it is absolutely imperative to understand the source of the conflict and stop the paralysis of fear so many are experiencing.
Conflict occurs as a result of disguised fear. When fear arises within, it is often denied and blocked. When it is blocked, it can harden within, much like frozen ice in a flowing river; preventing all the healthy, normal emotions from flowing through you. Fear becomes you. If allowed, it can overtake your perception of the workplace and the world. It can impact your family life; the very fabric of our human culture.
Rivalry in the workplace feeds on insecurity and is accelerated by the desire to be appreciated, combined with the fear of failure or humiliation. Attempts are made to expel the pain by blaming, attacking or gossip, which only leads to greater rivalry, competition and jealousy. Few people can withstand the discomfort and pain of being criticized, attacked and blamed by a boss or co-worker. The feeling is literally that of being stabbed and deeply wounded.
Blaming, attacking and holding a figurative "gun"' at someone else gives the individuals doing it a false sense of superiority and/or safety. They do not feel the pain they cause in others when they are in the attack mode. But much like real wars between nations, the sense of triumph is short-lived because there is always another enemy. It is time to put down all our weapons--literally and figuratively.
Finding freedom and peace
This passage of time is about freedom and deliverance from the chains that have bound you. The only answer to unlocking these gridlocks is to finally stop and look within to find the source of the pain. But we resist looking within because we are afraid of opening up a dirty little secret--that we are not worthy. However, maintaining this belief and holding up this wall of protection takes a lot of energy and causes more pain. It is quite literally exhausting. The truth is that you are more powerful than any of your ego defense mechanisms. Self worth will never be found in perpetuating drama.
The remedy is to stop reacting, attacking, defending, blaming and fearing to look at your own wound. When you are feeling attacked or undermined, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is the source of pain?
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