It was upsetting for me to believe that insensitive happenings and behaviors that are brushed under the carpet saying they are 'normal' at workplaces are actually events that come under Bullying!
It was half past twelve and way past my bed-time. I was looking at the sky that seemed like a vast bluish-black blanket with bright twinkling starry print all over it. It was all too pleasing to the eye. It felt calming and peaceful. I was musing in the tranquility but…suddenly, before I knew, it started raining heavily. It was only obvious that my mind could not hold to the serenity any longer. The rain, somehow, had ushered in chaos within me. I quickly closed the balcony window, arranged for a chair to sit there and cribbed about this untimely rainfall which destroyed my moments of looking at the then untroubled sky. As true as it is that good weather can soothe your soul, a bad one can prove to be equally chaotic & messy. My calm thoughts were now changing their direction to become more agitated, of sorts. In addition to that, my phone beeped. It was a text from my colleague-friend who informed that we had to reach an hour early, tomorrow. I flew into a rage. I could, actually, feel the rage increasing within me. I could identify and understand that I was being impulsive in reacting to that text but couldn't help. Nowadays, every little thing that demands putting extra effort than needed blows my fuse. I was hopping mad and I, of course, did something stupid. No extra points to guess that I stress-ate a huge chunk of chocolate cake! The dessert gave me a hell lot of sugar rush but did calm me down, later. I realized that it was high time to ponder over these sudden reactions I had been giving to things and situations around me since the last couple of weeks now. Come to think of it, I was never that person who would say things without knowing what’s what. So, this change within me was absolutely new and unwelcoming. I knew that I needed to find myself in a place where I could get some sense of awareness and clarity of direction. I opened my cupboard, pulled a journal, read the last few entries and came to understand that these changes that I am going through are majorly related to workplace happenings. The journal entries surfaced anecdotes of biased behavior from superiors, pressuring to an extent where insulting was a go-to for the new recruitments, treating the new entrants like interns, targeted demeaning jokes, misleading about work & deadlines, denial of requests, harsh & unjust criticism, at times; also social exclusion, stealing credit, and so on. I remember talking about all these experiences with few of my close friends and everyone was of the opinion that these are common happenings of workplaces and that all of them had gone through each one of those events. The same events that have affected me to a degree that I have become negative; somewhat toxic as I snap at things and people too easily, at times; unnecessarily are ‘common’, I was told.
The one thing that helps to get rid of the bullies is speaking early on and I was doing that. So, I was hopeful of things working out fine and they did. It took a couple of weeks of silent treatment, weird looks, and gossips but by the end of the month, we were on good terms. Even if there wasn't a friendship formed, there was definitely acknowledgement and respect of each other's work.
I realize getting stroppy is unnecessary and wrong but I am unable to help it. At the end of the day, I blame myself for being hopeless and helpless. Nevertheless, I tried to accept the fact that this is how workplaces function and there is no change taking place anytime soon. But, somewhere, my heart didn't agree to this acceptance. I needed answers, I… I needed to know more. Internet came to the rescue! I read up about prevalent environment at workplaces, work-life balance and other related articles. But it was all too ideal to be achieved. I was almost bored reading those utopian-giving-vibes articles till I came across something about bullying…bullying in workplaces! Curiously enough, I clicked on the link and started reading the blog. I read through it with gobbled up eyes, wide open jaw and basically a whole lot of shock on my face! The blog made me realize that I have been at the receiving end of bullying at my workplace. I was taken aback and didn't know how to react any further. Before I believed it completely, I checked the authenticity of the blog. It was penned down by a psychologist. I also looked her up and read about her to ensure that the boggling information I just read has come from a genuine source and it did. It was upsetting for me to believe that insensitive happenings and behaviors that are brushed under the carpet saying they are 'normal' at workplaces are actually events that come under Bullying! It made me think that when all of this happens in schools and colleges, there are bawling many rules to punish and fire up the culprit. Then, why have all these happenings been taken as form of normalcy at workplaces? My mind was cluttered by this time and I couldn't take any more thoughts in. Finally, staring into space, I dozed off.
The next morning, there was a new kind of energy in me. It was the kind of energy that induces confidence in you. There was something different and new in my way of looking at myself in the mirror. I felt some kind of strength in me. I felt wiser. It’s astonishing what awareness can do to you. I was aware of the wrong things that were happening to me and I had, in my mind, decided to take a stand for myself. I didn't know how I was going to do it. Probably, I was thinking of just having a polite conversation with the bullies; make them understand a few things. The one thing that helps to get rid of the bullies is speaking early on and I was doing that. So, I was hopeful of things working out fine and they did. It took a couple of weeks of silent treatment, weird looks, and gossips but by the end of the month, we were on good terms. Even if there wasn't a friendship formed, there was definitely acknowledgement and respect of each other's work. Also, if you are wondering what changed in me overnight, then it is not only awareness of the problem but also the reason of the problematic behavior, which the blog provided to me. The blog mentioned a quote from a report published in Forbes saying, "People become targets (of bullying) because something about them is threatening to the bully. Often, they are more skilled, more technically proficient, have a higher EQ or people just like them better."
Now, while I have my late-night coffee, I'll leave you with this super thought-provoking idea. Meanwhile, I’ll go back to meditating by looking at "my starry night" from the balcony window!
Written By - Arya Diwakar
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