Nobody can hurt me without my permission. – Mohandas Gandhi
Working and teaching at a school no matter the school climate is often like riding a roller coaster with no end to the ride in sight. Sometimes it’s up, like that moment that you make a difference for a child and sometimes it’s down when something happens to cause an upset. We are hurt or disrespected by a student (pretty rare), a parent, a teacher colleague or support staff such as in the school front office. Hurt or disrespect can come from the district level, state level, educational legislation or political environments. There are many unexpected surprises that is the part of being an educator and part of a school community. This is in conjunction with being up to big things like creating the future, supporting students and families and making a difference for children. It’s not just the students that are having a hard time on the playground, but it is also the adults that work at the site. Here is a quick way to deal with hurt and disrespect at school and return to a sense of feeling safe and supported.
“Why” is a Red Herring
If you’re a human being, and you’re going to be hurt even in a positive school climate. It is guaranteed that a some point we, even educational leaders will feel hurt or disrespected. And there are a lot of reasons for that. is it test scores, difficult learning environments, social emotional conditions of adults, our past hurts or other’s past baggage. I am not going to go into the why or reasons behind hurtful behavior such as fatigue which is a character of school life, impatience, personal life being brought to work and/or criticism because it is chasing the red herring. The why is just a distraction and knowing why is interesting but not the solution. This is what we teach our kids as we make them critical thinkers able to make good decisions and think for themselves. So instead, I’m going to talk about the solution. I’m going to talk about the how and a quick one.
The Moment You are Hurt or Disrespected Find a Friend
Unless some divine intervention comes to you with words of wisdom and forgiveness walk away to fight another day. Isn’t this what we teach our students? We tell them walk it off, walk away and then we tell them to talk to a trusted adult. These are all life skills and part of social emotional learning. There is a way we can get or prevent the emotions to get the best of us. It is kin to what we tell our kids which is to walk away and talk to another adult. When I mean talk to another adult. I mean, talk to a trusted source, someone that you know will be a good listener. Think of it as venting and letting off steam emptying the emotion into a trash can. I ask my trusted sources to hold the trash can for me as I release the hurt and/or disrespect out and into a safe place. Talk about what happened, how you felt, complain about the person as their are no rights or wrongs here. We want to settle down or calm down these emotions because emotions that come with hurt and disrespect are powerful and prevent us a sense of safety, respect and happiness.
It’s crushing, you might see a drop in shoulders, or the chest come in to be disrespected is like someone took a baseball bat, to your chest. So it’s super important to find that trusted source that trusted person that you can just talk about what happened, and they won’t make a point to try and fix you or change you. They just listen and care for you.
Write Down What Happened and What was Impacted
Once the emotion is calm after talking to a friend, it is really important that you write down what happened. It can be a free flow of consciousness however at some point begin to self-reflect and answer questions such as these:
What actually happened?
How did it make me feel? Did I feel hurt, dishonored, or disrespected or a combination?
What part of my life did it impact? Did it impact how I think of yourself (self-esteem)?
Did it impact how how others might think of me (pride)?
Did it trigger fear? Was I physically afraid? Was I afraid I wouldn’t get what I wanted or might lose something I have?
Did it impact money? Did this type of interaction threaten my job security?
Did it impact relationships. Did it impact being part of a team ? Did it impact your relationships with your colleagues?
So if you can. First, get down what happened on the surface just play the movie.
This quick part is to see what was what was really underneath the feelings of hurt and disrespect. Was it self esteem what I think about myself? Was it pride and what I think of others. Was it fear of physical well-being? Was it fear of losing a job? was it fear of losing a personal relationship? Was it fear of having impact on my team or people that I work with? What was underneath all that emotion, hurt, and/or disrespect. It is so easy for me to look at others and what they did wrong. It is so easy for me to see only other’s part and not look at what was impacted in me. I love the phrase, “when there is one finger pointing forward there are usually three fingers pointing back.”
Self-Reflect on What is My Part
The last part of a quick way to deal with hurt and disrespect of school, is we have to put aside the wrongs what others have done and just look at ourselves. Now that I know the impact of this interaction has had on me, what is my part? How have I been selfish, or dishonest or self seeking or frightened. When we are being selfish it looks like we are not seeing the point of view of others. We wanted things to go my way. We think we are better than others. We are too concerned about ourselves. If we are being dishonest it might look like blaming others for my problems, not being clear about my motives, exaggerating or minimizing, being perfectionist, and/or having a superior attitude. Fear looks like being afraid of other people’s opinions, or afraid of rejection, abandonment or loneliness. Fear could look like like being afraid of our own inadequacy or afraid of criticism. Then there is always being afraid of expressing ideas or feelings of embarrassment. if our part is self seeking what that looks like is trying to manipulate others to do our will. We might be putting down others internally or externally to build ourselves up. It could look like gossip which is character assassination. Are we acting superior? is there’s some void in my life and I’m acting out to feel that void by being self seeking.
The only way I have ever found to be rid of hurt and/or disrespect is to ultimately look at my part. This take honesty, courage and exhaustion at feeling hurt at work. After I look at my part then I get quiet.I forgive myself. None of us rise above being human beings. I can certainly tell another person what I found out or not. The moment I am able to see my part something is released. Something new comes in, which is compassion, which is empathy, which is forgiveness, and often gratitude. When we are in this space there is no room for hurt feelings are feelings of disrespect.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this quick way to deal with hurt or disrespected school and here is a summary. I honor that this happens at the school site, this happens to educators and it happens to all human beings. First, I want to really encourage you to walk away from the emotional bruising or upset and dump the emotions and facts about the event to a trusted resource. Second, write down what happened from your perspective and what the impact or what was effected in you. Finally, the last part which is the hardest and yet most rewarding look at your part. . After you’ve thoroughly analyzed their part. Take a look at your part. Where had you been dishonest? . Was it your pride or what others think of you? Was it your self esteem, money personal relationships fear. Really take a look at your part. How had you been selfish ,dishonest, afraid and/or self seeking. Then get quiet and honor that what has come into that emotional space now which is gratitude, empathy, forgiveness.
I would love to hear from you! How you deal with hurt feelings at the school site? Did you try this quick way out. Did it work for you? Do you have any suggestions? Comment below or send me a private message.
Thank you for all that you do for our children.