Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning to Disengage

Without going into any details, I want to just talk about learning to disengage.

Since I was a kid, I have always been very passionate and probably loud and vocal about my feelings, my opinions and ideas. I don't think I'm always right...I just express myself with confidence. My mother says that I have a power that intimidates people. I don't mean to do that. I can't see that I am doing that while it is happening. I don't know how to stop that part of me except to try to be sensitive to other people. I think I am sensitive to other people - not 100% of the time, but I try.

Today, some stuff was happening at work and we had a meeting. I just expressed my frustrations and my ideas and then when it was all done, the moderator of the meeting basically said, "Well, you can be frustrated, but you can't show it to your people...we need for you to hold it in check..." I felt like it was specifically directed at me. I didn't express all of this to my people. I expressed it to my peers where I should be safe. After that, I started to second-guess myself and I sent an apology to the others - just a "thanks for putting up with me".

Now, looking back on it, I have a couple of feelings about this. One is that I didn't need to apologize. If someone had a problem with what I was saying, they should have said something. I guess the other thing that is bothering me is that I try to be helpful and supportive. I asked people if they had other ideas or suggestions and tried to elicit their responses and got none. I hate that my automatic reaction is to apologize for maybe possibly offending someone who didn't even say that they were bothered.

Every meeting I go to, whether in the workplace or with associations I've belonged to, I go into it telling myself, "Just be quiet. Just be quiet. Don't say anything. Stay out of it." And then I don't and I ALWAYS regret it.

I hate that.

I just wish I could disengage. I don't know how to be effective but dispassionate. I wish I could learn.

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