Workplace Baggage | How to process it and let it go!

 In Emotional Intelligence, Stress

This advice is not a value judgment on your complaining; it’s a prescriptive piece of advice about your brain. With each complaint, you program your brain to look for evidence to support the complaint. Keep on complaining and you will create a continuous loop of negative perspective bolstered by the selective input you gather to support that perspective—all the while convincing yourself that what you are seeing or experiencing is absolute fact. You need to interrupt that thought pattern in some way, especially if you are carrying around extra “workplace baggage”.

But you are not imaging it—sometimes bad things happen at work. We get passed over for a promotion, get moved to a department with a horrible boss or get asked to “take one for the team” one too many times. Stressful events can cause us to carry a grudge or emotional “baggage,” and simply trying not to dwell on it often makes it worse. One of the cornerstones of emotional intelligence is being able to accurately identify the emotions we are feeling.

Spend a little time over a weekend thinking about all of the “wrongs” you have endured in your career, then identify the emotions connected with each, like anger, disappointment, disgust, etc. Now take it one step further and ask yourself what is behind that emotion—were you insulted?  Blind-sided? Hurt? Frustrated? Once you have fully identified that unpleasantness, take a step to let it go. This does not need to be a public confrontation—the entire exercise can be a solo event. You may be surprised to discover how much baggage you have been lugging around and how much relief you feel when you process it and let it go.

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