I had a phone call with a friend yesterday where he told me about a someone else getting fired. After the call I sat for a second and reflected on the conversation.
I thought about what that would feel like to have everyone say you're exactly the opposite of the answer. My thought was, "That must have hurt so bad."
Then I started to feel my own fresh wounds. Thoughts and feelings started to rush in my mind and heart, which led to questions like:
I was the one who believed in you more than others?
Did I not give you every opportunity to speak up?
So the return on my investment in you is to be the villain?
Do you really think my intentions were harmful?
Every leader carries feelings of betrayal, personal attacks, and hurt from misunderstandings. And I've been giving this a lot of thought lately: What do I do with these feelings because I still feel them?
I don't think we speak enough about how we handle our personal hurts in leadership circles. Right? We're supposed to be "pull ourselves up by the bootstraps" people. Leaders are supposed to be people of movement, not people stuck in crisis. But we often create a cycle that brings us to our end by dismissing how we feel in order to "be brave and strong," creating an inner conflict that eventually grows into something causing us to fall apart.
I keep coming back to this question: "What am I supposed to do with my hurt?" I've been creating a checklist in order to help myself feel what I need to feel instead of pushing it aside.
I know this to be true: If we don't allow ourselves to process and work through our hurt we either push people far away or we try to find a savior. I think the path we choose will depend on our tendencies as an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts will take hurt and hide. Extroverts will seek out someone else to fill up space in order to avoid the hurt.
Neither response is healthy nor productive in our life if we actually want to process our feelings. Sometimes, the most difficult person to be vulnerable with about how we've been hurt is with ourselves. Could the bravest thing to do in the midst of hurt is to feel it, process it, and be vulnerable about it? I think when we do these things, hurt can actually have a more productive place in our lives.
What do you think? As a leader, what have you learned about being hurt? Please comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!