Surviving Friendly Fire

Surviving Friendly Fire | How to Escape Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts

© Irene Becker, Founder, Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ (IQ-EQ-SQ)
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Surviving Friendly Fire

My assistant recently coined I had not heard before, “death by a thousand paper cuts”. The more I thought about these words, the more I recognized that we are each cut thousands of times by words, thoughts, experiences that hurt, injure or wound us in ways that may not seem important.  Paper cuts are important because our way of dealing with them impacts our purpose, potential and impedes that results we could be achieving.

It is utterly sad that most people never touch upon their personal greatness; most people do not stop to understand what makes them different, unique and special.  We each have something to contribute, something of value to share with others, but paper cuts deride our best selves in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine.  When friendly fire, when paper cuts impact our thoughts and emotions we lose track of what we can control, what we can influence.  The greatest locus of control you have is over your 3Q’s:   Q1:  What/how you think      Q2: How you feel/communicate     Q3:  Your values, personal boundaries and the spiritual quotient that keeps you strong and focused when things are tough.  Learning to hone and grow your Q skills is doable, critical and can change your life, your work, your career in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

Unfortunately, when we are the recipient of friendly fire; the pain, anger or frustration we feel can turn around and bite us in the back.

Do you deal with paper cuts in one of the following three ways?

1.  You deny them.
2.  You dwell on them, and become a victim.
3.  You allow paper cuts to silently impact or erode your sense of self-worth.

Perhaps you deal with paper cuts by taking out your, hurt and frustration on another person, a situation, or by tossing out angry words or throwing the nearest object across the room.

Being successful, feeling fulfilled and happy lies at the other side of a thousand paper cuts.  Denying the paper cuts, becoming a victim of the paper cuts, or allowing the paper cuts to erode your sense of self-worth will take you down a long and winding path that can and will undermine your purpose, potential and the results YOU can achieve.  Turning your next paper cut into an experience that grows one of your Q skills can be empowering and transformative!

How can YOU escape death by paper cuts?  How can you empower YOUR best self on days when you are not feeling that you can take on the world, days where blue skies look grey or grey skies look black?  Here are seven simple solutions to try!

Simple, Practical 3Q Solutions for Paper Cuts

1.  Recognize when you are impacted by a paper cut.  Take a 3 minute window to just process and let go of the negative feelings the cut caused you.  Wiggle your toes.  Ridiculous as it may seem, it is difficult to stay anger while wiggling one’s toes.  If wiggling your toes does not work, find another way to distract your brain until the power of the paper cut is gone.

2.  Refocus on the fact that hurt people hurt people; if your paper cut came from someone who is emotionally injured it reflects their issues and not YOURS.  If your paper cut came from someone who was trying to help but did not know how to communicate their message, refocus on the fact that they were trying to help and let your anger go.

3.  Reflect upon what was said or done and ask yourself what is within your circle of control?  What can you do, what can you say that could change the situation.  If nothing can change the situation because of the mindset of the other party, find a way to get rid of your anger and frustration and move on.

4.  Do NOT judge.  Refrain from judging others, because in judging others you will also start judging yourself and get caught in an awful cycle of negativity.  Stand up for your values, stand up for your boundaries but do so from a place of self-worth, not judgment.

5.  Develop a new strategy to communicate with the bearer of friendly fire in ways that do not invalidate him/her and allow him/her to understand what it is about what they have communicated, the words they have used that does not sit well with you.  Trust is built on communication.  Communication takes practice and the most important arena to practice occurs when there is friendly fire, mis-communications etc.  Read:  Turn conflict and communication challenges around.

6.  If you are receiving friendly fire from a friend, family member, boss or co-worker; remember that while you can drop a friend you may not be able to switch jobs and cannot switch families.  Determine how you can minimize contact so that you are not standing in the middle of the firing range, waiting for the next shot.  Remember that YOU cannot change, you cannot cure toxic people, but you can get out of their way as much as possible while recognizing that the bullets coming your way, the paper cuts inflicted reflect their own personal issues and problems and are not a reflection on YOU at all.

7.  Begin again now.  Do your best, address paper cuts when they happen or remove toxic bearers of friendly fire from your life.

More on 3Q Personal Development and Growth?  YOU Betcha!
The Secret to Personal Development and Growth
Turning Negativity Around
7 Ways to Engage and Enable Your Greatest Potential
The Power of YOUR Story
Re-Charge-Inspire YOURSELF in 5 Minutes or Less!
100 Stressbusters


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2 replies
  1. Heather Ashton PMP
    Heather Ashton PMP says:

    Excellent sage advice to live by whether it be death by a million paper cuts or my own “death by a million pin pricks”. Focus on what you can do, can achieve, and finish the day feeling good for your contributions. This is my best practice and assurance to stop any long term damage from attacking your own person as a whole.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Heather: Thanks so much for your great feedback and sage comments! You are on the right track. The negative consequences of death my a million paper cuts are written all over the walls of our workplaces and communities. It is time to remove toxicity, and doing so starts with how we choose to respond (versus) react to friendly fire. The ability to keep proper boundaries while also choosing not only one’s battles, but one’s understanding of what was said and why is so critical.

      Best! Irene


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