The other night over dinner with friends...
... I was sharing about an incident that occurred when I was working in Human Resources at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. My kid was in the first grade, so this was about twelve years ago.
I had to deal with a lot of very demanding staff members, some of which were kind and polite, and others not so much. One day I had one of the latter on the phone, and I was so overwhelmed that I hung up on him. This was the only time I ever hung up on someone in my professional career. Of course, a few minutes later, I got a call from my supervisor, who asked me to come to her office, where this towering, very intimidating African gentleman was waiting, fuming. He had every right to be upset – I had acted very unprofessionally and immediately admitted my mistake.
Back then I would get so flustered when people were aggressive towards me or raised their voices at me. I had no clue how to handle it. To note: I had been practicing meditation on and off for almost twenty years by that time. I had also worked with a life coach on setting healthy boundaries for myself. And yet I still found myself in this situation.
In spite of all the inner work I had already done, I still had a very shaky sense of self-esteem and an undeniable need for approval and love. I took this gentlemen’s plight very personally and lost my cool.
After dinner, one of my friends told me that her thirteen-year old daughter, with whom I had spent quality time together at that point, really liked me and said she wanted to be like me when she grew up. Just writing this makes my heart really swell, that I could be a role model for a teenager I just met…
It really hit me - not giving up on yourself, in spite of failures and setbacks, focusing on growth and being a better person, and now, helping others on the same journey. It’s exhilarating and dizzying and just so inspiring.
For all of you who have worked with me, held me in friendship or love, and those of you to come… Thank you, and I love you.