Friday, 8 June 2018

The most destructive emotion?


Yesterday I was writing a response to a friend who had just off loaded how she was feeling annoyed with herself for having offered to do something that felt like too big an ask.

As I wrote, “I think that the balance between giving and receiving is a key. And it’s not empirical. It’s just what feels balanced to us,” my mind was running ahead thinking, “when the balance isn't there we feel resentment. And it doesn't matter whether anyone else thinks it is justified or not justified, we are resentful.”

I remembered just the other day reading something by Patrick Lencioni where he said “…(they keep quiet) because they fear jeopardizing a valuable personal relationship. Ironically, this only causes the relationship to deteriorate as team members begin to resent one another …”

Do you know how often resentment comes up in my work? So often when there is a toxic situation, whether it be in a client’s work situation, or personal situation, there is huge resentment.

Resentment comes when we feel unappreciated, disappointed, angry, or hurt. It can result from feeling belittled, being discriminated against, feeling taken advantage of, not being recognised for your good work (and) being criticised for small mistakes, or seeing others repeatedly get away with not pulling their weight. And many other causes, real or perceived.

Whatever the cause resentment can become hugely destructive. It starts off small, going round and round, inside you and then it shows up externally, breaking down communication and cooperation.

Left to fester it starts a downward spiral in the relationship with the one we feel resentful towards. And we begin to disengage from our work, the boss or the colleague; or the client; or the service provider; or our friend; or our spouse.

My heart sinks when I analyse a situation and see resentment that has been building for a long time. It feels like such an uphill battle. There is the original cause, there is the built-up emotions, and there are all the other consequential damages to work on. It takes a lot of coaching and sometimes mediation to repair the damage. And sometimes there just isn’t enough will to ever really get it right.

There is a much easier solution.

Speaking up about what you are feeling and why ……. as soon as possible.

Yes, it feels like it will be a difficult conversation, but it stops a much more difficult situation from developing.

The two things that stop us from having that conversation are usually, not knowing how to go about it skilfully, and all the emotional ‘stuff’ that gets in the way.

A colleague and I have combined our own strengths into a three module live, online programme that gives you the tools for both those parts. You get to learn and practise safely, so you are able to have a difficult conversation with courage.

Courageously having a conversation may result in the other person simply acknowledging where you are coming from; or the two of you finding a different way to do things; or you making some decisions of your own. Any of those outcomes, or others that may follow, are so much better than sitting with the building resentment.

If you would like to know more take a look here