If you were to ask me, as a stress consultant, what is the biggest single source of stress in people today I would have no doubt as to the answer: I would say that it is people not being comfortable in their own skin. They do not or cannot accept who they are. They may not even know who they are.
There are many contributing factors to this syndrome but one of the most significant is the fact that we become victims or slaves to other people’s opinions of who we should be. Just for good measure we also carry a whole set of imaginary opinions in our minds which add to the chorus of disapproval.
The workplace is an ideal incubator for such syndromes to grow and come to life. At work we are constantly giving and receiving opinions. Every manager has to carry out reviews of their staff. Each manager will be appraised by their manager. Just to get a job requires the passing of opinions about who you are and whether you are suitable,aAnd if you fall short someone will have to express an opinion on that too. So, we have spoken, written and unspoken rules of behaviour. Moses came down from the mountain with ten commandments but our workplace gurus decree from mountains of paper with ten thousand commandments.
Before long we use them as sticks to beat each other. So we comment on style, character, appearance, mannerisms, achievements, track records, dress sense, social conventions and even race, religion and gender. As we beat each other with our sticks of criticism the splinters fly into the eyes of our victims. To add to the injury we then attempt to change others and fix them so that they conform to our image of what is acceptable.
Jesus of Nazareth explains how ludicrous it all looks when we try to get small splinters and sawdust out of another’s eye while a massive chunk of wood is stuck in our own.
So we judge someone’s workload – but skip on our own, criticise someone’s tiredness – when we’re able to take a break, or put down a person merely to elevate ourselves. We write people off as untalented because we can’t see it, or let the first impression have the last word.
Don’t do it, or it will come back to hit you, says the Carpenter who knew a thing or two about sawdust, splinters and planks.
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
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