Negative self-talk (NST) might be part of the problem. NST is quite productive in all the wrong ways. As described above, it can leave you feeling down in the dumps. It can also fuel the fires of resentment.
Getting down on yourself
“How did I miss this? I am so embarrassed!”
“I am terrible at this.”
“Why am I here?”
“I am a failure.”
Getting down on people around you
“Why does so and so get to do that and I don’t?”
“F that. I hate this place!”
“I can’t believe they expect me to do_____”
Feeling resentful once in a while is understandable considering the high level of work and personal stress people handle every day. Mistakes will happen for everyone at some point. However, if you are reading into every situation as an opportunity to hate your company, your boss or your coworkers, you are generating strong negative energy, stress and maybe even hostility. Spreading misery to others is just as hurtful as holding it all in.
Through no fault of your own, you may feel like an island where you work. You may work in an unhealthy culture where leadership and teamwork are lacking. You still have one person on your team. That’s you.
Neutral, helpful messages to consider
If situations are challenging and stressful, and problems arise, start with neutral approaches such as:
“Let’s get this problem fixed before we discuss it any further, okay?”
“Wow. This is a definite issue that I will look into and get back to you on, once I have more information.”
“I can see that you are upset. Let’s figure out a solution.”
“Here’s a way to resolve this…”
“Here’s how this project went well. Here’s what I might do differently next time.”
“Thank you for your feedback. I will give it some thought.”
Neutral statements are usually helpful for you and for others. They project a steadying, problem-solving attitude.
Now, if you are doing nothing to stop yourself from feeling resentful and hostile, it will just cause more and more negativity in your life. Those feelings may even spill over into your personal life. Either get a new job, or change your thoughts about the job. In the meantime, try to catch yourself when you are thinking so negatively, and add a positive statement to lighten the load, or think of a neutralizing statement.
Coping with the challenges: How are you treating yourself? Others?
We get up and start each day with a set of coping tools—some good, some maybe not so good. Our coping tools are shaped by our life experiences, including how we grew up.
Once we’ve been pressed and pressured to our limits, we find we’ve exhausted our ability to cope. This is when situations begin falling apart by way of hostility, backstabbing, gossiping and the myriad other ways people act out when they’ve reached their personal breaking point. Just think about the unhappy (I don’t mean depressed) people you know, what they do, and the circumstances in which other people are hurt or negatively affected.
What can you do?
First, if work stress is weighing heavily on you, keeping you from sleeping at night or pushing relentless negativity, see if your company offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP provides a professional you can talk to about what’s going on. You can also pursue help on your own through a licensed counselor.
Second, tune in to your support network, the people closest to you in whom you can trust to listen. Ask for help with the responsibilities you have outside of your work challenges.
Third, take care of yourself first and give up trying to control what’s going on at work, a lot of which is really out of your control.
About the author: Cherilynn M. Veland, LCSW, MSW, leads a new self-advocacy movement intended to help women reach out, speak up, and take action steps for what’s best for them. Please support this effort by liking the Facebook pageand/or subscribing for updates. You can also connect on Twitter and Google Plus.
For more information or to arrange a speaking engagement or small group, contact Cherilynn at [email protected] Stop Giving It Away the book will be published Spring 2015.