What I Have Learned About Support?
Sometimes I have a really bad attitude. At the beginning of this school year in August was one of those times. I just didn’t want to be there. The school moved me from one position to the other in what I would consider a non-transparent way. I moved from what was primarily administrative and events management position to full time teaching with 5-7 years in physical education.
I guess you could say that I was looking for support for a very very long time from those above me in the administrative hierarchy. It never came. What did come was a lot of criticism and fault finding. I became resentful and bitter. I am a taurus, so holding onto negative things for a long time comes quite naturally to me. When I began the new position, I just tried to keep my head down, do the work, and then leave at the end of the day.
And then my body began communicating to me in profoundly negative ways. The metaphoric place of where one gets support in the body is one’s back. Mine reacted badly to my attitude. I was looking for support from outside of myself from up above. It never came. I felt completely unsupported. And then my back went totally out. The pain was so bad that on 3 occasions I went to the emergency room at 2:00 am to get a pain killer so I could sleep. The most I slept at any one time was 1 hour and even then it didn’t feel like sleep. I was taking as many pain killers as I could, but it was just sheer hell. You don’t have to tell me what hell is like. I know. Finally, between the work of a good chiropractor and some cortisone, the pain subsided.
I think I can be pretty objective in saying that the people above me did not act in good faith, but I know that I have a certain amount of responsibility to bear for it. I was mostly hurt from them because I was looking for support. They just didn’t know how to give it. On top of that I held things strongly against them for not supporting me. I allowed bitterness in.
For some reason maybe because the culture teaches it, I have done a lot of support seeking from outside of myself from the leadership above me. When I have had supportive leaders, I have thrived, but when people were not so encouraging, I developed really bad attitudes with a lot of bitterness. I wish that I had been more self-supporting in the past, but I wasn’t. I suffered for it. I guess I just had to learn the hard way. The hard lesson for me is that leaders are just like everyone else only with power and authority.
I think that going for support from outside myself is a little bit like buying a lottery ticket. You have about a one in a million chance to get it and even then it is only fleeting at best. The real support is internal.
The habit that I have is based upon the belief that the leaders have the power to change things in an organization or in a country. It is a huge myth largely perpetuated by themselves so that you will feel like they are so important. The really humongous fact is that 99% of the time you are alone in your work. It is you alone with the tasks or with the discussions. They are not around and have little effect on the outcomes. The outcomes of my work are always in my hands. Even if the top leaders were to constantly encourage me and support what I am doing, I am still the one doing the work. I organize the experiences for my students and guide their interactions. But the habit is to believe that the leaders are so important for the accomplishment of my goals. The big wake up news for me is that they are not. I am.
So what does my mind do. First it imagines that they have a lot to do with my success. It even sees them as big figures much larger than me and believes that they can do so many positive things for me. And then they always disappoint because the reality is that I am the big picture in my life. They are very very tiny and insignificant.
So what does support look like inside then? Here it is. Support is seeing yourself as huge in relationship to the task. You are huge inside and feel capable and confident to get the job done. Others are non-existent in the image. It is you as being large and the task small. That is internal support. This is what someone does when they are supportive. They try to make you seem big so that you can do the task.
Here is how Baha’u’llah describes it to us.
Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form
When within thee the universe is folded?