Friday, April 8, 2016

Being Different: Acceptance and Embracing Our Different-ness

Today I sat a talked with a co-worker who has been having a difficult time.  She has two pre-teen girls and, honestly, a life full of chaos.  This has transferred into and negatively affected her work life over the past year.  So, she is suffering disciplinary action and she doesn't understand why.  In her heart, she believes that she is being picked on.  In reality, she isn't following the rules that everyone else has to follow, so she's being disciplined.

She and I talked today.  Simply put, she believes that, in being an integral part of our team at work, that we are all equal.  In a perfect world, she would be right.  However, we do not live in a perfect world and we do not work in a perfect world.  We work in the medical field.  We work in a place of structure, hierarchy, and often times, silly rules that make sense to no one.

Our former supervisor was a champion at making everyone feel equal... At least on the surface.  Our new supervisor is also very good at this (in a genuine and compassionate way).  However, my co-worker chooses not to see this because she isn't being afforded the same 'protections' that our former supervisor gave her.  My co-worker is being treated just like any of us and she doesn't understand why.

So, I sat down with my co-worker today and we had a chat about how we are different from our nursing co-workers.  I learned many years ago that, no matter what field you are in when you are 'low man on the totem pole', you are held to a different standard than those 'above' you.  She did not understand why, as a secretary, she is required to stay her full eight hours, even if there is nothing to do when the nurses can finish with their daily work and go home.

She didn't understand that in our positions, it is perceived that there is always something to do.  Today, we were completely finished with our work by a little over an hour before she had to leave.  She didn't understand that it is her job to sit and answer the phones until it is time for her to leave.  Her rationale was that she could roll the phones over to our call center.  That is a perfectly good rationale, but it still means that she isn't doing her job, and she doesn't understand that.

Many times over the last year, she has left early because she 'didn't have anything to do' and there were charts to be filed and new patient appointments to be made, on top of any phone calls that came through, typically from patients.  She left early because those things could wait, instead of doing them and getting them out of the way.

As people, we look at each other and we hold each other to standards that may or may not apply.  We do this in our relationships.  We do this at work.  We do this in the groups that we work with.  We often see people in regards to how we want them to be, not how they actually are.  As pagans, specifically those of the Wiccan path, this thinking and behavior, directly applies to the phrase "Perfect love and perfect trust."

We are all different, but at any point in the day, we can almost all guarantee that we are going to be working in a group of some kind, either face to face or via phone, Skype, or social media.  We can apply perfect love and trust to every situation and person in our life when we love that person for who they are and trust that they will act within their very nature.  Your nature may be different from mine.  I may be content to twiddle my thumbs for the last hour of my work day when everything is complete whereas, you may not be as content.  I may do my best to be all things to all people in my day whereas, you may need to focus on one task at a time.  Neither are inherently bad, yet if I expect you to do seven things at once when you are only capable of one thing at a time, then I am going to be irritated and disappointed.  I am not trusting your inherent nature.

It takes a lot of personal reflection to recognize that our different-ness isn't bad.  It takes even more reflection to recognize our inherent nature and the difference in the nature of another.  We can not compare ourselves with another and then wonder why they get more or we get less.  When working in a field with clear hierarchal boundaries, it is even more important to accept that one's status outside of work has no bearing on one's status while working.  Even more importantly, embracing that status (within reason and not allowing one's self to be abused) leads to a greater understanding of one's self and one's role within the bigger picture.

Being different isn't bad.  I like being different.  I don't want to be 'more' or different than I am by my very nature.  I see my Self and where it needs to change and improve.  I see myself in others and recognize their nature as being different from mine.  I do my best to work with it, not against it, even when I really want to stomp my foot and scream.  So, when you find yourself in a situation where you are being treated differently, or being accused of treating another differently, step back and examine that different-ness.  Are you acting according to your nature or are you reacting according to their nature?

Brightest Blessings, Friends!!