The last time I was bullied, I was left speechless with shock and anger and did not know what to do. Others gave plenty of advice, but nothing felt comfortable, nothing was 'me'. I needed to wait and figure it out.
When we are hurt, feel pushed to respond, and others tell us what to do, it is important to listen to our inner voice and follow our intuition. But often it is not as easy and as straight forward as that.
Acting with integrity instead of acting out of impulse can be hard.
Then, sitting with that difficult feeling is the first step towards reconnecting with our integrity. Because that's the place we need to be to deal with a bully, injustice, unfairness and many other difficulties.
How does it work?
Acting with integrity means you do what feels morally right to you. It is in line with your values and beliefs and represents who you are.
Often it is when our Achilles' heel, our soft and vulnerable spot, is touched, that we may stumble and get stuck, not knowing what to do.
When someone or something kicks us (even unintentionally) where we are most vulnerable, then we can lose balance and the connection to our self and our integrity.
Recently someone accused me of having a certain attitude and having acted in a certain way. I can say with a clear heart, mind and conscience, that they are wrong on all counts.
For me, the real problem was I felt there was no way of getting my truth across to them. I was misunderstood in my core values, with (apparently) nowhere to turn. And that is my Achilles' heel.
You will have your own and you may know what it is. Often they go back to some defining childhood moments.
From an early age onwards I linked (rightly or wrongly) being misunderstood with powerlessness. And my way of coping with it, was giving in and accepting blame that was not mine to accept.
That was then - I was a child. This is now - I am an adult.
I no longer apologise for what I have not done. And I am much less afraid of conflict. I can act with integrity. I know and I honour my truth.
Yet sometimes it still feels like there is nowhere to turn. But of course there is a way. There always is.
It is about dealing with our vulnerable spot (our inner wound) in the best way possible.
As for me, at that moment I was shocked and well and truly stuck. I was pushed and pulled into all sorts of directions.
Should I arrange a meeting, seek mediation through a third party, ignore it, sleep it over, walk it off?
When we are unsure how to deal with a bully, we can feel frightened, angry and confused. It can be exhausting and eat into our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical energy.
In all this mess, how can we start acting with integrity?
While no single approach to my problem felt 'right' or 'me', a lot made sense. But I was not in the right frame of mind 'to pull it off' and to stand my ground.
In the end, I decided not to act out or act on impulse. Instead I needed to sit with it, while avoiding the bully. That's all I could do. And I knew, it was all I should do.
The purpose of sitting with a difficult feeling is to calm down, mentally, emotionally and physically. We need to regain some kind of composure and grounding to the able to reflect and to start feeling empowered.
It can take minutes, hours, days, weeks. It varies. But don't let that put you off.
You will know, when you are done, because you will feel more balanced inside; mentally and emotionally refreshed.
The key is to trust the process. Nothing more and nothing less.
The challenge, however, is to bear the thought that the bully and others may misinterpret, why we have gone all silent. Let them!
Containing a difficult feeling means allowing it without being gobbled up by it or rushing to quick fixes, which never offer any long-term solution.
On the moral high ground we play a longer game and strategy, quietly and on our own.
An important part of the process is accepting a difficult feeling and holding the discomfort and pain, often well beyond our comfort zone.
But that's exactly the stuff that makes us more resilient and strong and feeds our integrity!
Then it all becomes clear and we can start acting with integrity.
I am glad to report, that after a while I found a solution to my problem, that 'feels me'.
I feel at ease and I feel at peace.
But, dear me, I have got to do something about that Achilles' heel of mine!