Abandonment Part 2: How to Get to Your Very Best
My Short History of Abandonment
Up and until 1997 I never had an employer who deliberately abandoned me. Mind you I have had a lot of moments of incompetence as probably most people do, but no one ever asked me to leave my job. Then, when I felt I was getting really great results in that my students were changing their lives, our whole department was given our walking papers. It was a bit ironic to experience abandonment because our department promoted concepts of bonding as if we were family. The decision was made to change from a family bonding orientation to a more detached regimen. So while I lost my job, the school also lost students after the firings. It hung on for 10 years, but never regained the numbers.
My next experience with abandonment happened in a very similar manner. When our data was showing very positive growth rates with students and the unity of the staff was on the rise, the ownership of my school decided to end my relationship with it. After that time the school lost about one-third of its population.
My recent experience happened after I had had a whole series of really positive evaluations and remarkable results despite the size of the school in comparison to others. My supervisor made up a bogus assessment of me and then used to say I was incompetent. The data showed very different results. And now just about 8 months after the abandonment, the participation levels by students in the programs I managed are falling.
The reason that I am writing this is because justice is just not all that apparent in the world. We have a large number of leaders who seem to be so threatened by positive results, so overcome with jealousy, that they won’t even take a detached look at the data. Instead of being fair, they feel that people who are competent in their work are going to take away some of their recognition. The more competence that is shown, the more the jealousy takes over. There is not a causal relationship between who advances and how competent they are.
The playing field in the world is marked largely by injustice. Let’s face it. If you grow up in Libya, the freedom to pursue your desired vocation is just not the same as other places. There are a lot of books about finding your passion, etc., and going for it, but injustice is a big factor in shutting a lot of doors. It is undeniable. I am just thinking about what poets went through in the Cultural Revolution in China or any person from the city in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. When injustice is the ruler, the most competent folks are seen as the biggest threats.
This post is not a rant. It is about abandonment. What do you do when the rug is pulled out from under you when you are at your best? When you get abandoned, how do you transform it to thriving?
The first and most important thing to recognize, which is by no means easy to see, is that they are abandoning you, you are not abandoning them. When I feel abandonment, I suffer. When I see it as them abandoning me, they suffer. It is simple. eh? Not so easy I am afraid! The problem emotion is hurt.
If someone abandons you, and then you can see it as their issue, not yours, then it means that some brand new big doors are going to open for you. This is a fact. This is not new agey stuff. Hurt is the emotion that signals new openings. All you have to do is get over the hurt.
So step one is to see that they abandoned you, not the other way around. Step two is the realization that because of the abandonment new doors are going to open for you.
Step three is the BIG ONE. Step three is remembering everything positive about your life and everything positive that has happened in your life. When you invoke positive memories on a grand scale, it releases huge amounts of positive energy in you. The only problem is that if you are stuck in hurt, you cannot get to positive memory. Hurt keeps you stuck in negative memories and freezes the present tense. Letting go of hurt and seeing them as abandoning you, opens up all of your positive past memories. This gives you huge energy. I can honestly look on my firings as them losing me and what I had to offer. It was their loss, not mine. At the moment of the firing I didn’t see it that way. I suffered a loss of energy because I was stuck in hurt and then I lost my memories.
When you remember something in a positive way, then it feels your body with positive feelings. Those feelings then drive you to doing lots of great things. Then the doors open. What happens to the people doing the abandoning and the reason they suffer is that instead of taking the opportunity to get closer to people, they distance themselves from others. The further they are from others, the more they suffer.
But there is a dynamic which I am not too sure about yet, that as long as I am hurt, they don’t have to feel the suffering of their abandonment. As soon as I am detached from the hurt, then they feel it. Strange! Care to comment? Feel free.
Thanks for the validation.
My reply to this: “as long as I am hurt, they don’t have to feel the suffering of their abandonment. As soon as I am detached from the hurt, then they feel it.” I think they are hurt, perhaps unconsciously. But once you have detached from the hurt, they now have to take ownership of their actions and either forgive or continue to be hurt. I know it’s not this black and white but I do see this a lot. People need to detach and forgive themselves as well (speaking to whoever caused the hurt).
And as for you Mr. Hastings, I agree with what Martha wrote! 🙂 The world is truly a better place because you are in it. I am honored to have crossed paths with you and Debbie. We can’t always see the effects we have on others but I know your guidance has touched the lives of those who have crossed your path. And I’m very glad you realized that it is your previous employers loss for letting you go and that the processed opened new doors (opportunities). I’ve learned many things from you and continue to and I’d like to share one that was not even an intention of yours. People like you, incredible and radiant Mr. Hastings, have taught me to live more in the present moment. Our time with each other passes like a fleeting moment and if I’m not here, in the present moment, to enjoy it, appreciate it, and simply cherish it… it’s gone. I can’t take back my moments with others. I have to enjoy people right now and stop torturing my mind with where I wish I could be. Incredible people, just like you, or really any person (because I do believe there is a purpose in crossing one another’s path) come in and out of my life and I took it for granted, didn’t cherish it enough while it lasted. It’s a fleeting moment. So, now I try and learn from this. Your guidance resonates deep within my soul and I feel blessed to have crossed paths with you. I’ve longed to cross paths with you and Debbie again but until then I am blissful to have connected with you two in cyberspace. 😉 🙂
Richard, this is wonderful. Somehow (coincidence?) popped up in my fb page this morning, and I really appreciate the opportunity to read it and think about it during these last days of Fast. Relates to some deep relationship issues (I was going to say “hurts”, but am working to reframe them!) I’ve been pondering these last days. As Loi said, your step three, remembering, is so very important. Thank you.
Interesting post. Harboring deep feeling like this and coming through with insightful thoughts and beliefs comes with much relief, I suppose, to you and perhaps others with similiar experiences. I’m reminded of the many jobs in the US that are being lost due to the decline of the economy, especially in the private sector. I’m also reminded of the many jobs that are secure because of union contracts, tenure and seniority, especially in education. Perhaps none of these feeling you have experienced would have come to fruition, unless you were under these private institutions whose rules and regulations don’t protect the teachers like public education. Let’s hear it for public education sticking up for valuable teachers raising a voice and actually practicing creative and intellectual thinking, which may help produce a better educational environment for students, staff, instructors and administrators. Does shared governance ring a bell? And yes you’re right on point in examining your strengths, contributions, encouragment to students and love to others. This will always get you through to the next level. Now I’m mindful that I haven’t observed you teach, but I’m a good judge of character and heart. You have both, even though I might be bias, being your brother of course. Remember that those seeking power are insecure! I have also observed administrators first hand, practicing power plays, but we deal with it diffenrently in the US public education sector. We have a voice and when everyone works together students succeed. Watch any good administrator when they support their teachers and support staff and you will observe success in the classroom and school…
I think it is worth saying that you made such an indelible impression on so many of us(me included) and we certainly felt like the institution(s) had abandoned you as well. In the process of that great ill, they also abandoned those who loved you.
While it is a little akin to pulling a silver lining out of thin air, I think how blessed the lives of all those you have touched on three continents are. If there hadn’t been the idiocracy of those afraid of supporting others success, so many young people in need of your guidance would not have had of the honor of having you in their lives. crisis and victory–as always.
I also think it is fair to say that the lives you touched and transformed have truly been better for having known you. There has been no abandonment of the love your students and surrogate children feel for you and Debbie–nearly 20 years later.
I think your Step 3 is so very important, regardless of whether it was abandonment, or just life’s ‘misadventures’ moving on, while extremely hard to do, is the best thing to do.
I had a really bad experience to, I don’t think I would call it abandonment, as I left the job, but I’ve not looked back since and am very much happier for it!