When you’re in a personal or business conversation with someone you care about, and your conversation becomes negative or argumentative, how do you respond? Do you argue back, withdraw inside or flee out of the room?
I used to handle it either by withdrawing inside and saying nothing, crying (usually leading to some kind of drama), or matching the negativity with my own just as loud. All of those choices left me feeling bad inside and out. Plus the situation sucked out a lot of my energy.
Because I felt less confident (somedays my awareness of my feelings was nada), I felt powerless to change the situation. I mean c’mon, the person I care about in a relationship is not someone I wanted to fight. My boss or the President of a client’s company…definitely not someone I wanted to fight with. I didn’t see a choice other than black and white. Fight or not fight, quit the job or suck it up. I was sooooo wrong.
One day I was in a meeting on the other side of the country with a very important client. I hadn’t slept great. I was feeling self-conscious about my weight and not great in my skin. It was me and two colleagues meeting with the VP and the President of our client’s company. The client President became enraged as we discussed strategy ideas and details. I was VP of our ad agency at the time. My colleagues were the President of our company and the VP of creative. This was one of our biggest clients. The client President launched into attack after attack. We were all floored and had never seen this side of him. I was squirming because the energy in the room dropped and I felt like I was slowly suffocating.
I didn’t sit in silence and I didn’t cry or yell back, though I really wanted to do both. I asked questions and answered his questions hoping to calm the energy and “please him”. I could feel the tension rising all around the room. And my fight/flight instinct was about to go into hyper mode. I took a sip of water to calm myself. And then with every ounce of strength, internally shaking and not listening to my fear, I stood up. It was time for me to pee in this meeting.
Standing up stopped the barrage of attacks from the client President. He stared at me. I looked in his eyes and saw anger and looking deeper I saw below his anger, fear. I could feel how powerless he felt inside himself. Then I calmly said something like: “I truly want to hear the rest of what you are saying. What you are saying is important. I have to pee and cannot wait any longer. Can we take 5? Please excuse me.”
And I walked out of the room. No I didn’t wait for his answer. Is anyone going to tell me I cannot pee? Ha, no way.
I did go to the bathroom. I felt scared and angry. What did I just do? I could get fired or we could lose this account. My feelings from years ago being bullied and feeling crappy about myself came flooding back. I felt disempowered to change ANYTHING back then. I struggled to remember I was NOT her anymore. So I consciously chose taking the time to cleanse my energy, breathe, remind myself of who I am standing tall in my wonderfulness, raising my vibration and protected my energy. Maybe I was gone 5 minutes total.
When I returned, the room was still tense. Definitely fear, but it was so much calmer.
My one act of standing up and walking out disrupted the negative energy flow.
I sat down and smiled radiating and holding my higher energy. We began our meeting again. The President calmed down and even apologized for his poor behavior. I smiled inside and graciously accepted along with my colleagues.
I learned something that day. I learned everyone has choice. You have a choice beyond black and white, fight or flight, your way or their way. I learned about my self-esteem and its effect on the energy I exuded out of me. I felt off when I originally entered the meeting. Insecurity inside myself attracted energy and an experience that mirrored my “less than” feelings. Also, I learned my energy attracted people and experiences into my life like a magnet.
In your life, in your important relationships, you don’t share a brain with your partner/friend/colleague/client. You usually come to each relationship with your own experiences which shaped your beliefs. Chances are you and they will have a conflict or disagreement. Combine deep caring, lack of sleep, hunger, fear of any kind and POW the great making for an argument.
Are you the one igniting the fire? Are you the peacemaker crying and withdrawing? Are you the one that stands up to the igniter and throws gasoline all over it making it even larger and louder?
If you are like me, you’ve been all of them in different relationships during your many life moments.
At the end of the day you and everyone else wants to feel SEEN, HEARD and LOVED. If you remember this and remember you can pee in a meeting which is my unfiltered way of saying…take a time out…THEN you empower yourself to take care of you, love you and handle conflict with calm, faith, hope and love, seeing many possibilities beyond fight or flight disrupting and SHIFTING your energy and the energy in the room. Thus you have the opportunity to then choose another way to communicate with each other and even discover a way to synergize creating a win/win for both of you.
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