Embracing Discomfort: A Pleasurable Experience

On Friday, I resolved to use my moments of fear as learning tools. I publicly declared it. (Well, publicly HERE, anyway…)

The VERY NEXT DAY, in its inimitable, helpful fashion, the Universe, threw a little exercise my way to…strengthen me.

Rant: A Little Background
My situation at work has been dissatisfying lately, to say the least. Our office has been “reorganized.” I’ve felt unappreciated and demoralized by decisions made by my employer about my position and its value, which is apparently far less than I would like to believe after nearly a decade of my efforts in the job. It’s a position I thought I would stay in for the duration of my career, but the recent economic situation coupled with a new administration┬áhas recently made me think otherwise when I was demoted to a lower salary level and position while others with far less tenure than I have been promoted and have received hearty raises. In my heart, I know there is feedback in this for me; surely my results are telling.

But I also have believed I was a victim of a popularity contest that I simply cannot win. Daily slights and frustrating exchanges have become the norm. I struggle to focus on my projects while trying desperately not to overhear hallway conversations that further my feeling of being thwarted.

My Resolve Is Tested
With Friday’s declaration all but forgotten, Saturday afternoon I checked email from work and became incensed about communication from two coworkers. Both have supplanted me in the restructuring or our office and one of the emails i received gave me marching orders for issues in which I’d previously enjoyed autonomy. The other was a memo addressing the official reorganization of our staff, including their exalted stature and my decreased one. So angry and agitated was I that I immediately constructed a brash response. Thankfully, I didn’t push the send key. I stewed over things for 24 hours, feeling peevish and outraged, but ultimately trashed my response and decided to ride the situation out. I escaped, threw myself into yard work, cooking, whatever I could do to get my mind off of the dreaded Monday moment when I’d be in the slimy grasp of my work situation again.

I spent a good deal of Sunday at war within myself. Though I tried not to focus on it, there were moments when my sense of injustice was overwhelming. I focused on worry, lack, unfairness.

In the midst of this, I felt compelled to complete a work project that had been lingering, just to make sure I wouldn’t have to face a missed deadline and suffer the consequences. The project: a tedious data entry task of 60 plus pages of information. Harboring a dull ache in my skull, I reviewed the data and banged away at the keyboard for a couple of hours, stopping occasionally when seething resentment bubbled over and I felt need for a distraction.

At dinner, I discussed the problem at work with my family. Not wanting to paint too bleak a picture for my worried parents, I stated my feelings honestly, telling everyone I needed somehow to find a way to face tomorrow without the war in my heart. We commiserated and made efforts to enjoy our time, fantasizing together about wonderful new situations and the ultimate satisfaction of being able to walk away from my current unpleasant one without looking back. I told my family about my plans to apply for a new opportunity I’d heard about from a friend and they encouraged me to give it my all.

After dinner, I prepared an application for the position and felt a small satisfaction in having taken a positive step toward something better. Later, my helpful hubby assisted with the data entry. With the task finished, I took a couple of Tylenol and curled up in bed thoughtlessly, and slept. I still hadn’t come up with a plan for dealing with my internal dragon, throwing its flames over my insides at every perceived snub in my office.

In the morning, I dallied, loathe to enter the dangerous den of Monday. When I could procrastinate no longer, I dragged myself through the motions of getting dressed. I clothed myself in garments that made me feel pretty and tucked the completed job application in my bag to deliver at lunchtime. Daring to dream of creating a better situation for myself. My happy, subversive little secret.

Resisting the Resistance
At the office, another long-time colleague in a similar situation to mine was discovering the reorganization memo. We talked only briefly about it, and shared our feeling of being out in the cold together. I declared my intention to carry on and I did exactly that.

Small Changes – Big Results
Having made the decision to go with the flow, I checked my ego at the door. In the course of my work, I managed to communicate effectively and even somewhat cheerfully with my new supervisor. I asked for her opinion and direction. Perhaps I imagined her appreciation, but in doing so, I was able to put myself in her shoes and I felt things ease a bit. As the day went on, I found it easier to focus, to notice things like the beautiful weather and feel gratitude about blessings I truly enjoy.

My little lunchtime errand was a pleasure, too. I presented myself at the office where I’m submitting my application, and was greeted by a friendly staff and an openness I found refreshing. At Human Resources, Becky asked me to wait while she opened my application and leafed through it thoughtfully before telling me it looks very good. I left there feeling hopeful at the thought of incorporating this opportunity into my situation, if that should be the outcome.

I went back to work and was efficient and focused for the remainder of the day. For the first time in months, my work day ended with me feeling positive and empowered. Not omnipotent, mind, but WITHOUT the feelings of discouragement, defeat and bitterness that have been my constant companions for at least that long.

With no defense against the usual war going on in my head, somehow I stumbled upon exactly the right tactic, for me, to get through the morning. I stopped focusing on how bad my situation was long enough to accept it for what it is and move on. I dismissed the approach of resentment and fury, and settled into solving the puzzle “how would this look if it went well?” This is a break in my pattern. As a result, it was a good day.

That crafty little Universe sent me a message this morning: If there are things I want that haven’t come to pass, it’s only because I just haven’t gotten used to thinking of myself with them. The things I have that I don’t want, I just haven’t gotten into the habit of thinking of myself WITHOUT them.

I think the little bugger is right! I almost can’t wait to see what cool surprises tomorrow will bring! Fancy THAT!

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