Often we let external events, situations or people upset us. Most times, getting upset or angry is really not useful – it hurts no one else but us. The other party doesn’t even know, nor cares! At its root, we get upset because we believe that someone else is acting unfairly or an event is unjust (promotion? appraisal? project assignment?)
The reality is that from the other person’s point of view their action is not unfair. Our frustrations result from the loss of our self-esteem – or from within our own shame – when others criticize, disagree or fail to behave as we want them to. Frustration results from unmet expectations that are usually grounded in faulty thinking. Faulty thinking patterns that set us up for failure include:
- It must be perfect…Unless, I achieve it all, I’ve accomplished nothing…anything less than complete success is failure… I didn’t get all that I asked for…(this is all or nothing thinking, you’re seeing things in black or white categories – learn to enjoy the shades of grey!)
- I didn’t get the promotion/ job / assignment / project, my career is over…everyone is corrupt / biased…all managers are idiots / inhuman…only MBAs get all the great breaks…(this is overgeneralization – there are usually exceptions or options that we can’t see because we get locked into this thinking)
- I’m a loser…I don’t have the self-confidence, self-esteem…I don’t communicate well…I’m shy…I’m not qualified…I’m too short, dark, fat, ugly, poor…(we’re labeling ourselves and overgeneralizing – we ignore our strengths or minimize them. This then becomes an excuse for us to stop trying and helps us rationalize our inertia).
- I messed up the presentation, my life is over…I missed my targets, I can never get promoted… she refused to meet me for coffee; no one will ever love me…(this is magnifying and catastrophizing minor events to such an extent that we negate ourselves, or blow up the reality beyond reason).
We’re human and so the way we think and the things that happen can throw us off gear completely. The trick is to recover and get back on track. Wallowing in suppressed anger doesn’t help us. Covering it up with sarcasm, humor, binge eating or drinking is not good for the health. Use the points above to see where you might need to correct your thinking.
Or, why not consider working with a coach to help you move ahead?
(We’d be happy to work with you as your coach /coaching supervisor – for a couple of pro bono sessions – to help you break out of this cycle! Connect with us on email@example.com)
Check out details of our ICF accredited 125 hour ACTP Executive Coach training program being held in December 2014; Jan & March 2015 in Bangalore, on this website’s ACTP/ACSTH page. Why not use this as an opportunity to visit India / Bangalore?
Reference: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy – Dr. David D. Burns, HarperCollins e-books