This past year, 2011, I had several very humbling experiences. This year has started off with a few more. One area that I've always been able to pride myself on for the most part has been my work and my professionalism. This past year, my self-image took a significant blow when I ended up in a position that I wasn't able to do without training and I wasn't able to receive any training. And then spending the next five months looking for work only added to the loss of confidence in my skills and abilities that I had experienced. I knew I could still do a lot of wonderful things, but I no longer felt anyone believed me or that I was able to present it in such a way that they would believe me. Very humbling and frustrating position to be in.
I also had lost a relationship that I felt for the first time might actually go somewhere. Unfortunately, this was not a new experience. I have always struggled in my relationships with men. I never understood what they were looking for or what would make them want to have a relationship with me. I never had had a relationship last long enough for me to figure out what wasn't working or why the man would run. I had started to ask people, "What am I doing wrong?" "I need to know, because otherwise I'm going to continue to ruin every relationship before I even really have a chance to know whether or not I want the relationship." No one could tell me until this past summer when a friend of mine suggested I read a book that might help. She didn't know what I might be doing, but she thought the book might give me some clues. Well, I began to read the book and before I could finish it and find out, the relationship that meant so much to me was gone. I did finish reading the book and then I took an online class based on the book in September. I guess this was an area where I was just really, really dense, as it still took a direct, in my face, email from one of my online classmates to finally make me realize what I was doing that was pushing the men away. I was pushing them even when I didn't want to. It was all very interesting, but also quite painful, sad and humbling to me.
Along with being humbled in these two areas of my life, I came to recognize through the online class I took in September that I was filled with a lot of anger, frustration, and criticism for the men in my life. In particular for my brothers, but also for men over the years that had hurt me, not provided or protected for me even when it was their responsibility, and basically hadn't been the men they should have been. I started to realize that I had a "razor" deep inside me that was ready to come out and "cut" someone, particularly men, and that I needed to let go of that razor within me and allow God to remove the anger, the bitterness, the hurt I had experienced over the years and create within me a gentle and quiet spirit. Well, I'm here to say, this process of removing the razor within me and replacing it with a gentle and quiet spirit, the refining process, is NOT an easy or painless one. Some of the situations this past summer, fall, and now into winter, have pushed me to the limit in the this area and I have been very humbled to realize that I could so easily fall right back into anger and hatred towards others. Very humbling.
To be honest, I would have appreciated a break from the humbling and refining process this year, but it has become quite apparent that the lesson must go on. I've not really been "managed" at work in a long time. In the positions I've had over the past 10+ years, Production Manager and Instructional Designer, I've basically self-managed my time and projects, even though I had a "supervisor" or "manager." In my current situation, it's been a little bit different. I have some days where I somewhat self-manage, but at any point in time, my boss might and has stepped in and managed my time for me. Additionally, there have been a couple of times where my boss or my boss's boss has politely "put me back in my place" and reminded me that I'm not the "manager," Not in those exact words, mind you, but I understood my position in the end. I'm just the worker. Very humbling again.
And finally, today I experienced maybe the most humbling situation that I've ever experienced in my professional life. Communication has always been important to me and I enjoy working together with people and on teams to accomplish work. I like to participate and usually feel comfortable doing so. Occasionally, over the years, I might find myself interrupting someone accidentally and would apologize, but it wasn't the norm and I usually did very well at listening to others and taking part in a conversation in a positive manner. Since starting my current job this past October, I've noticed that I've interrupted others quite often, particularly my boss. I'm not sure why I've started this habit now, but it seems to be closely associated with some form of anxiety going on inside of me. Obviously, it's not a positive trait or behavior and it's one that I'm so trying to stop, particularly since I don't even know why I'm doing it. Today she called me on it, which was quite embarrassing. I felt soooo very frustrated with myself for allowing myself to manifest such behavior, when I don't think this has been the norm for me over the years. If it had been something I was doing all of the time, I expect someone would have called me on it before, particularly my boss and mentor from Improvisions/ImproMED, who I still consider a friend. I felt humbled again, and sad. I wish I could say that I would never do it again, but unfortunately, just having talked about it created enough anxiety in me about doing it that I turned around and accidentally did it again right away. Very humbling and once again I feel as if I'm going through the "refining" fire.
As I've said to God several times over the past year and again today, "I sure hope I come out of all of these refining fires as "fine gold," not just silver!