Updated: Jul 20
It's an infuriating situation most of us have had the misfortune of finding ourselves in at one point or other in our lives. A new opportunity arises, and we can see a whole world opening up with new potential… and then, out of nowhere, a little jobsworth appears who won't let it let us get on with our work. Work relationships can be tough. Whether it is newfound rules or regulations or making the whole work environment uncomfortable, or being incredibly obstructive, there is a particular type of heartbreak that comes from realising that someone is intentionally not going to let you get your work done.
It's something we've been speaking about in SelfCareSchool recently, and it struck me that this is a very important example of why it is important to be able to identify and name our emotions.
When people speak about their experience of this, what people talk about was their anger, the frustration and the arrogance of the other person, which is all justifiable. But when we stop there, we lay the responsibility for our emotional well-being at the feet of another.
When we focus on the hot emotions, we may choose to feel we miss inquiring about what may be underneath them. And when we miss what is driving them, we miss the learning that we could do to prevent them reoccurring. Underneath the anger here, what we found was futility and hopelessness. There was sadness as the important work was being sabotaged by people who did not seem to care much about it, or certainly did not care if the objectives were achieved.
This is why it is so important that we develop an emotional vocabulary to be able to identify what is going on for us correctly. Here, for example, you may want to keep the anger that someone is being obstructive, but if you hang on to the feeling of hopelessness, you lose any power or agency you have to change the situation.
When we dig underneath our initial responses and ask what's driving us, we can work out our motivators and fears and begin to work out what we would like to do about them.
So next time you feel stuck in the hot emotions, or you feel like someone has gone out of their way to trip you up when you can, and when you're ready, pause, stop and ask yourself why them behaving like that is a problem for you. This will often take you closer to identifying an emotion which, once named, offers you space to make choices about the situation and the things that you want in your life.
Identifying and naming our motivators moves us from reactive to responsive. We are able to include ourselves back into our narrative and decide the paths we want to be taking.
If you'd like to take this work deeper or learn more lessons like this, I have a whole load of bitesize mini lessons on brain works and thought works over at Spam Filter for Your Brain. You can catch up here https://anchor.fm/anna-heardinlondon/