Have you ever noticed a newly planted tree that has been staked by a landscaper? You may think that the stakes will support the tree in the event of heavy winds. In most cases, the newly planted trees need no staking. It’s an unnecessary “extra” step that some landscapers perform. Unless the tree is super “top-heavy”, most newly planted trees do not need staking. Why?
Trees have a hormone called “auxin,” which helps play a vital role in the direction of a plant’s growth. If a plant is staked, it can affect the caliper and taper of a plant; it can affect the tree’s growth. Where am I going with this? I like to compare the “growth” of humans and trees because both share one thing—strength through adversity. I am also a horticulturist and love plants/people.
When the winds blow the trees around, the trees are busy producing Auxin hormones to help it become stronger. As humans, we can also become stronger if we look at our negative experiences and conquer the “lessons.” Discern on the “silver-lining” each lesson gives us. Do we need to love ourselves more? Show ourselves more respect? Set healthier boundaries in our lives?
We become more empowered when you see the negative “patterns” in our lives, repeating themselves. Perhaps we are attracting more people in our lives who mistreat us, or we always make bad decisions. Many scientists will tell us that everything is “energy.” Like energy attracts “like” energy. Pay attention to the thoughts in our heads. Up to 90% of your belief system is in our subconscious.
Without realizing it, today, we may be attracting “patterns” of lessons we need to master for our own growth. Yes—they can be very painful. No one wants to experience mistreatment. It’s up to us to take 100% responsibility for our lives. When you take responsibility to get the help we need—our lives can change for the better. Let me share a story with you. I was in a long-term alcoholic relationship 20 years ago. I went to an open AA meeting for help and noticed everyone was incredibly happy and smiling. But I felt broken and could not handle all the emotions in this small room. I quickly ran out and ended up in a large cleaning closet in this building. Closing the closet door behind me, I was mortified and began crying. I was in the middle of a large broom closet for heaven’s sake!
I could not escape the “happy” people. I was in a cleaning closet for crying out loud! I heard the message, “you belong in that meeting room,” and I slowly walked back in that room for the moral support I needed. Everyone pretended they did not see me in the cleaning closet. I realized I had a long way to go to help myself become healthier and whole again. I had become “sicker” than the narcissistic alcoholic and needed help.
I was dealing with a narcissistic alcoholic in my life who nearly killed me in his “blackouts.” I had fought him off me many times, and I knew he would kill me if I did not get help. He was powerful, and it took all my energy to fight him off me. He was in denial. I was indeed “sick,” and it was affecting the quality of my life. Working 12 – 14 hours daily was my escape from this madness. I became a big “overachiever” in the Air Force. It was my escape.
After the open AA meeting, one of the scruffiest men I had ever met in my life, asked me to follow him to his house to meet his wife. There was something about that man that made me trust him. I followed behind his old, beaten up car. Suspecting we were about to arrive at a trailer park, I mentally told myself it would be alright. The house I arrived at was a multi-million-dollar home at Mexico Beach in North Florida. I put my hands over my face in disgrace and embarrassment again. I had gotten another good lesson in one evening. Never judge a book by its cover. This man was not only incredibly wise—he was very wealthy too.
This beautiful home was the house I passed every day while walking on the beach. I had found solitude and grounding in walking in the sand and breathing the salt air. The scruffy man who came to my rescue was a retired Army helicopter pilot, and his wife was an accomplished author. Lessons! I tell you. When you ask for help, whether through praying or with intention, you will get what you need, but not always how you expect it to come.
I only had a few months with this man and the open AA group as I was in the Air Force and about to transfer to the Black Hills in South Dakota. I was free to help myself, and it came peculiarly. Be open to getting the help you deserve. Claim your personal power by breaking the patterns of negativity in your life.
Trust the gut-feeling that you should walk away from a situation that will dis-empower you. Say “no” to narcissistic people and keep walking to a more healthy and empowered life. Get professional help if you need it. You can find a way to afford it, or you can reach out to www.211.org, a United Way program that offers many resources in each state that can support you on your journey.
I believe people deserve to be treated with respect and have psychological safety. Check out my other Good Men articles.
Previously Published on Workplace Bullying Support