It is a long and winding road. The road of achievement. The road of relationship. The road of self-worth.
I am on that winding road right now. So much has changed so quickly, so suddenly. My mind is spinning with the paradoxes.
What’s gone wrong?
Where there was happy self-expression, there is tension, fighting words, angry silence, animosity and fear.
We were a great team for several years. Then, the team players shifted, misunderstandings ensued, trust and respect denied.
In the past few months, the camaraderie and collaboration previously enjoyed, is replaced with cut-throat competition. With new players on the team and previous allies taking the sidelines, I feel very much alone.
As I reflect on the extent of the tension on my whole life, I realize, for my own sanity and my family’s as well, I have choices to consider. Should I stay or should I go? Does going mean I am giving up? What do I want? What am I afraid of?
The hardest choices I’ve had to make are those made with unhealthy conflict, inner and outer, influencing my course of action. Being with the fear and the anger only fuelled my emotions into a spiral.
There have been several events, in personal and professional settings, childhood and adult experiences, when unhealthy conflict, condemnation and toxicity emerged.
In reflection at the external events, seeing them from a distance, I notice myself on a stage, poised for conflict. It is an unsightly scene. Some conflicts are resolved quickly, healthily and led to necessary change. Yet, some festered far longer than necessary, both parties hurt immeasurably.
Carl Jung said: “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
The hardest lesson I’ve learned is that giving up is the most lethal choice of all. It was when I gave up on myself that I’ve fallen the hardest. The most toxic of all was self-condemnation.
I do share in the responsibility, even two percent, of being in the conflict. Yes, and letting go of the inner critic, letting go of the past, letting go of fear is what I truly want. The greatest fear I have and not always awaken to is the fear of losing myself, my self-worth. Accepting the present, the change in myself, others and life, is the greatest ally of all.
At the core of it, I know my highest hope, my greatest want, is to see my way through the bend to the other side, with sanity intact and principles in place.
So, I take the high road. I let go of the anger, the fear, the toxic relationships. In equal measure, I bring with me an appreciation of the achievements, the good relationships and my restored self-worth. I may stay. I may go. Ultimately, the decision is made with an open mind, heart and spirit.
It isn’t easy. It is painful. It takes time, forgiveness of self and others and a great deal of strength and trusted support. I lean in on those who are by my side.
Once the decision is made, once acceptance and forgiveness are firmly in place, I feel an immense sense of freedom. I feel a heavy weight lifted. I feel myself again. I feel hopeful. I move forward, around the bend, to the brighter side of the road.