I posted this quote on my Instagram page two weeks ago, not knowing that I would have the opportunity to apply this very quote to my own life. To say my current work situation is challenging at times would be an understatement. Someone in a leadership role took the opportunity to attack my character under the guise of constructive criticism. She said that my silence in meetings can be misconstrued as me being lazy and a person who does not having anything to contribute. This is false on so many levels.
The sad part was (well, the whole situation was sad, but I digress), her words were out of context to the initial conversation and an obvious, albeit feeble attempt to get a reaction from me. Of course, we were conversing over the phone and I didn't have the opportunity to look her in the eyes when she said those things. Then again, who knows if she would have the audacity? Probably not.
It was in this moment that I was able to recognize my personal growth. I chose to stay calm because everything doesn't require attention or a reaction. There was a time when I would have listened to and received her words, allowing them to hurt me. I would have lashed out and defended myself to her, declaring that I am none of those things. I would have wasted time explaining my personality to her. In this case, I was able to breathe and say "Oh, okay." Unbothered. Unmoved.
I was able to breathe for two reasons:
- I remained calm. Staying calm in this situation allowed me detach myself from the moment and take a good look at what and who I was dealing with. I was interacting with a person who thrives on drama. A person who does not know me and who does not know how to get me to react to her special brand of foolishness. People who thrive on drama cannot stand non-participants. She hates that I don't run to her. She hates that I stay to myself. She hates that I am comfortable in silence. And, she hates that I am confident enough in who I am that I don't try to prove myself to her or anyone else. People who thrive on drama and negativity do not have peace. I was not going to hand over mine.
- Everything doesn't require attention or a reaction. What she doesn't know is I do not place value on the unsolicited words and opinions of people who do not matter. She may be in a position of leadership; but in the grand scheme of my life, she does not matter. She offered those words and I chose not to receive them. I don't feel the need to prove my worth to people because I know they can see it. In her case, she was trying to tear me down in order to make herself feel like a wise leader; because not so deep down, she isn't confident in herself.
When you can do these things, you will be able to protect your peace and breathe.