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How can I forgive a frustrating co-worker who does not respect my position?

  • By Paul West
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How can I forgive a frustrating co-worker who does not respect my position?

Kevin asked:

"I have a subordinate at work who frustrates me with a lack of respect for my position. How do I handle this in a loving manner?"

Hi Kevin, thanks for the question. To begin with I wasn't sure if I was going to give an answer to this. I thought your question was maybe too specific and personal. But then I thought it might be a good opportunity to go from what seems like an everyday, specific-seeming scenario to a broader more forgiving perspective. Often we have to deal with these situations which seem difficult to forgive because of how they appear as very specific circumstances. So hopefully this can be of help.

In the bigger picture, your brother is your equal, and this equality is more real and important than any other structural or hierarchical relationship. What might happen is, if you attempt to see yourself as "above" or in any way better than the person, something is going to happen inside your own mind. You will create a persona which is artificial, which believes in the importance of its position, its status, its role or responsibilities etc. It will see itself as being justified in this maybe based on what it took to get where you are or how much education you have or what your role is etc. But believing your position is special will simultaneously create within your own mind a "shadow".

This shadow is going to be another identity within yourself, largely unconscious, which is "looked down upon" by the part that regards its job as important or special. Basically you can't put yourself "up" without putting yourself "down". So while some part of you is trying to attain some kind of illusion of higher position or dominant function, another part of you is reacting to that with feelings of inferiority, not being good enough, not being recognized, being unworthy and so on. This is all within your own mind, nothing to do with the other person.

The ego dynamic of the split mind then will play out where on the one hand it tempts you with images of being special or important or whatever, sort of a form of self-idolization. But at the same time, this is an attack on you. It splits you and doesn't acknowledge your wholeness. It produces a shadow which is formed by what you are trying to get rid of, or be better than, or get away from. Essentially you can't make yourself special without making yourself "un-special". The ego is always tempting you with the idea that you can have the specialness without any consequences. But the laws of the mind are always at work and any attempt to believe in being special is going to attack you.

This person outside of you, they are just there to show you what you think of yourself. Their ignorance or blindness to your job position or "lack of respect" for it, reminds you that beneath your desire to see yourself as respectable and accomplished and so on, is a self-attack which is putting you down, ignoring you, undermining yourself, and making you out to be unworthy. The persona in you does not like this and takes it as an attack. To the persona, which is only one part of your mind, but likely the part you are most conscious of, does not want anyone pointing out that it is an attacker (upon yourself), that it is flawed or fake (it's a facade or mask covering up your real self) - an overcompensation reacting to your belief that you're not good enough.

When someone then comes along and seems to point out the ways that your persona is false and unreal, this essentially is your own shadow coming up into your awareness, which the persona tries to suppress and keep unconscious. Your attempt to then keep this shadow-self "beneath you" or suppressed or unconscious or in its place or not directly equal to yourself, manifests in what *seems* like your relationship with this other person. When they suggest to you that you are not important, you don't deserve respect, you are unworthy or self righteous or anything else that seems to ignore what you think of yourself, it *triggers you*, because somewhere inside you, YOU believe it. The shadow that your persona is casting believes it. But bear in mind this may currently be unconscious, until you look at it.

Since your shadow is mostly unconscious you probably will think that this behavior is uncalled for, that the person outside you is the cause of your upset, and that this isn't something you agree with. That they are wrong. But you would not have any reaction at all if you did not believe it somewhere in your mind. Somehow you believe that you are not good enough or are unlovable or not worthy, and your job position is an attempt to cover that up by making yourself seem to be worthy for the work you do or to "get respect" for how well you do it or what you can accomplish etc. These are basically substitutes for loving yourself.

That subordinate person has come to show this to you, to help you to see what you are doing to yourself and what you secretly think of yourself beneath what you THINK you think of yourself. It's not really that you need to love that person more. You need to love yourself more. They are probably reacting to the shadow in your mind, and are treating you how YOU want to be treated because of it. You have to admit to how you want this, because you're not a victim. When you regard yourself more with love and UNDO your beliefs in unworthiness, you will no longer be trying to find your worth in your job role or responsibilities or abilities, but instead recognize your inherent lovability. That person should then stop reacting to your unconscious self-attack, and will be less afraid of you, and will not see your unconscious guilt as an attack on them.

What you think applies to you, applies to everyone. That's how mind works. So when you somewhere in you believe you are not good enough, you are also accusing others of not being good enough. They will pick this up on some subtle level, given that there are no private thoughts. Then they will take it as a personal attack IF that person has their own belief in being not worthy or not good enough. So that person likely symbolizes for you someone who believes they are not lovable. THEY probably have their own personal issues around this which your lack of self-love is reminding them of or triggering in them. And then they are trying to deny it in themselves by projecting it onto you. The two of you are in a kind of tango or not loving yourselves enough and that's why you attracted each other, to teach each other.

Undo your belief that you're a sinner who is guilty and doesn't deserve love. "Respect" is an ego concept, a substitute for love. You don't need to be respected. You need to be respectING yourself. You don't need to be loved. You need to be lovING yourself. When you can love yourself more and accept yourself more fully and not just for the things you think define you or are important or which attempt to please or get attention from others, you will be able to love that person more as well. Respect or love coming from others is never going to work. Love comes from God through you and extends outward, unless you block it. This is all your own lesson to do with how you are interacting with yourself, much more-so than how you are relating to this other person.

This is what I see in the situation just based on the little bit of information you've given, so please forgive me if I've said some things that you feel are not true or did not hit the mark. I could be very wrong with not much to go on. But I hope this helps you to take a deeper look at the dynamics of the situation and give you some insight to build upon.

You are more lovable than you are actually giving yourself credit for, which is why you have manifested someone to unlove you. You just need to remove some blocks to love - some fake sin.

Love yourself! God loves you unconditionally.

Once you've forgiven yourself it may or may not be appropriate to talk to this person about the issue, depending on whether this changes the dynamic of your relationship. Let Holy Spirit guide you.

 

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