“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung.
The sensitivities and manners required in the workplace develop an adaptive ‘self’ with behaviours that help us to survive and to fit in. But the deeper aspects of our selves are where our real work lies. Our true character consists of those aspects we are confident about as well as the insecurities and self-doubts that we cover up; behaviours that stem from deep and early conditioning and influences on our tender developing egos. Thandie Newton describes the ‘self’ as a projection based on other people’s projections.
Failure to work on the ‘self’ inevitably leads to forms of dysfunction, including judgementalism, manipulative behaviours, disengagement, depression and sometimes even explosive conflict. Workplaces are not well equipped to help people to address these unhealed aspects of them selves. We’ve all heard of “personality clashes” and eruptions of inappropriate behaviour which are most often reprimanded by a warning from HR – instead of an offer of healing and support.
Workplaces are getting better at recognising the need for emotional support and counselling, increasingly referring employees to external practitioners for support. We all need opportunities to heal internal dysfunction because our imperfect identities inevitably get challenged.
I love this TED talk by the beautiful Thandie Newton who learned to embrace all aspects of her self – beyond self-judgement and the need for external affirmation. https://www.ted.com/talks/thandie_newton_embracing_otherness_embracing_myself?language=en
Despite her successful career Newton suggests that her own healing is where her real success lies.