“Have courage and be kind.” This is Cinderella’s motto in the 2015 Disney film. The motto of this Disney princess carried me through a particularly tough job, when I had what I affectionately call a “Cinderella moment.”
The first time I had to deal with a bully firsthand at work was when I was in my mid-30s. The woman who took over my department was someone I immediately recognized as toxic. She was mean, she yelled, she made passive-aggressive threats, interrupted me in meetings, made belittling remarks, was impossible to please and she micromanaged to an excessive degree. To make matters even worse, the atmosphere at work had become so edgy that you could cut the tension with a knife.
While I eventually left the position, I remember doing something puzzling and out of character. I brought this supervisor the most cheerful cupcake I could find.
Since then, I have learned to recognize other’s behavior has nothing to do with me and that I am powerless to change it.
Kindness (to myself and to others) is powerful. Sometimes, a kind act requires courage. And ultimately, kindness helped me forgive and walk away without feelings of malice or anger.