I knew soon after Anders (not his real name) started working with me, I was in trouble–he didn’t like me. I wished I could have just ignored him, but unfortunately, this was the new manager I now reported to. Within weeks, he was making plans to hire someone “over me,” someone more strategic. Logically, I knew all this happened too quickly (I didn’t have time to screw up that significantly) for me to take it personally–but of course, I did.
Throughout my life, I have been a people pleaser (though I didn’t admit it until recently). So, I found myself trying to change myself hoping to get him to like me and have him “see the light–about what a great person I was.” I made several attempts–becoming more assertive, giving him more information, trying to be his “buddy,” — nothing seemed to work. My self esteem spiraled lower and lower–there must be something wrong with me.
It was then I had my first experience using a Coach. Barbara was terrific–she was always able to take whatever issue I had and helped me see another perspective. I always felt more positive and more empowered after each of our sessions. (Note: Barbara would be my inspiration to become a Coach some 10 years later.)
One of the things she told me was that Anders was sent as a soul mate for me. What–you have to be kidding. How do other people find romantic soul mates and I got him? What did I do wrong to deserve that? Barbara explained that soul mates are really people who are sent to us to learn from.
After awhile, I finally accepted her definition, but I couldn’t figure out what on earth my lesson was–except perhaps feeling badly about myself. I struggled with Anders for another 7 years and there were many painful moments. I continued to try and figure it all out, so I could move on.”
Eventually, I was able to see that Anders was sent to push me towards loving myself–just as I am. I didn’t need to please anyone else. The blessing I received was freedom to be authentically me. This awareness happened gradually, but I am amazed what a difference this has made in my life.
I’d be interested in hearing what lessons you learned from people who have crossed your path.