Monthly Archives: September 2014

“Recalling resentment”


"the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult."


Resentment is so common amongst we humans that it mostly goes under the radar of consciousness. It seems like such a natural thing. Simply a part of life you might say.


But take another look. It really is madness.


Here is a common story. A man I know began a serious relationship with a woman a few years after his divorce. They eventually married, the second for both of them. This can be hard on children from the first marriage. After seven years into the second and wonderful marriage, it came to light that one of the daughters of the first marriage had been holding deep resentment of the new wife for a full seven years.


Again, in the complex world of relationships you may say, "Oh well, that’s to be expected". Perhaps. But does it have to be inevitable?


If you reread the first part of the definition of resentment, "the feeling of displeasure or indignation…" and begin to break down the dynamics of resentment, an important truth can come to light. While the displeasure is aimed outward at the person "…regarded as causing injury or insult", who is actually experiencing the displeasure or indignation? In the case of the daughter in the story, she carried the negative feelings within her for seven full years. Seven years of toxic thoughts and feelings. Yikes!


Let’s bring that rascal the egoic mind back in. The ego delights in judging others to be wrong. In the story above, the daughter’s ego aimed its judgement at the new wife. The daughter never even expressed her resentment (judgement) to her Dad or his wife. The thoughts and feelings of displeasure all occurred within her own living environment.


So who suffered? The daughter did! The unnerving part is that our own egos don’t seem to care that the pain caused is actually inflicted on its own hosting human. And we humans are so used to this egoic dynamic that we don’t even realize that our own egos are doing this to ourselves (in the guise of aiming the resentment outward).


So at the very least, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) to use our EQ to become self-aware of the resentment and self-manage those resentful thoughts and feelings? Well, feeling better in the absence of resentment is a clearly positive outcome.


An additional relationship benefit of course is that if we have also been overtly expressing the resentment toward the person we accuse of the offending act, the cessation of that negativity will bring them more peace too. Win-Win.


What will aid in the clearing out of resentment from your system? Neutrally witnessing the negative thoughts and feelings through self-awareness is the key. Then unpack the contributing elements. Get a full understanding of what factually occurred and what you wanted to happen instead. Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. See if you might understand their intentions, their motivations; what was in it for them (WIIFT?) to do what they did? Try on some empathy for their situation. Even better, have a courageously truthful conversation with the other party. Communicate sensitively, coming from your higher wisdom and not from your judgmental, critical ego. See what clarity emerges between you two.


Note: Unfortunately, children (as used in the example) don’t have the developed skills described in the unpacking suggestions above. Thankfully, even as adults who began building resentment as children, we can access modalities such as Life Coaching, Counseling, Therapy, Hypnotherapy etc. to help us clear out the toxicity even decades after first forming the resentment.


Summary: Feeling the displeasure of resentment erodes our resilience. Feeling "better" in its absence boosts our resilience. A delightful no brainer.

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“Island Stepping Stones”

Some hundreds of storks left their African home, banded together for the long journey north to summer breeding grounds. But a severe storm arose with forceful winds and blew them far out to sea. Already an arduous journey, this now had the signs of catastrophe. If a stork’s wing so much as touches the water, they will spin in and drown. The tired flock fell lower and lower toward an unhappy ending. But just as their strength was almost depleted, an island appeared on the horizon. Land absorbs sunlight and returns the heated air upward as a thermal. Flapping with all their might, they reached the uplifting air, gained altitude on extended wings, and spied the next island in a chain stretching north toward their destination, Europe. Island-hopping, they eventually reached Istanbul and sanctuary, resting from the journey’s rigors to then move on to their purposeful activities.


Life can be like the stork’s journey. Our days may pass relatively unruffled but then accumulated difficulties may produce the perfect personal or professional storm. How we weather such periodic storms (and smaller disturbances) in resilient fashion will depend on how many islands of uplift we’ve constructed in life. These saving strength points come in the form of friendships that buoy us, work lives that inspire us, hobbies that fulfill us, practices that restore us, attitudes that move us forward with positive possibility. The storms of life are unavoidable. So enlivening island-building is key not only to merely surviving but to living a life of satisfaction, enjoyment and fulfillment.

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“Tween Times”

September has rolled around again. I think of this as a ‘tween month here in New England, the transition time or interlude separating the heat and humidity of summer and the crisp leaf-turning dry air of October.


Transition periods can test our resilience. In the case of this changing season, my body was acclimated to coping with a high heat index. Now it will soon need extra layers of clothing for the chill factor. My psyche said, "slow down, it’s vacation time". Now, work productivity expectations are usually higher. Contrasts to be dealt with.



This is just one of innumerable examples of transitions we face, large and small. Perhaps you’ve lost a job and haven’t yet found the next best-match work life. Maybe a relationship has ended and you haven’t yet filled that void. Or you suffered even a slight muscle strain but your activities are curtailed until you can get back to your normal activities.


No matter the life area in flux, the stability (not necessarily fulfilling) of the known or "normal" has passed and the future is a bit uncertain. These times carry varying degrees of stress with them.


This meantime can be troubling ranging from being a little out-of-sync to feeling very depressed. What to do?


Since most of us have a track record of ‘tween times, though we may not know the specific forms the next will take, they are bound to visit us again and again over our lifetime. Resourcefulness then is the resilience key to our mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being. With this wisdom guiding our practical practices, we can constantly and intentionally build up our reserves so that when it’s time to make a withdrawal in challenging times, the resources are there to call upon.



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“Inner Social Media”

We have reached a remarkable age of communication. The world is so interconnected via the venues of the Internet including tweets, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. The expanding use of cameras in buildings and on street corners adds another degree of transparency that can at least help dissuade unwanted criminal behavior.


But all of these "Social Media" platforms and methodologies are creations of humans. And they really mirror the internal systems of human beings. That is great news for you and me.


We have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day. Think of them as a tweets of information.


Each chemical synapsis we call a thought simultaneously sends a chemical to our body that we experience as emotion. These make up our daily blogs.


These messages are messengers and travel throughout our nervous system; our own complex Internet.


As we experience these messengers, they act as stimulators of all sorts of neuronic activity from posting "to" memory banks, to causing withdrawals "from" conscious and subconscious memory banks. These personal life inner activities are the Facebook aspects. And those produced in our professional life are the corresponding LinkedIn activities.


How do you tune in, observe, and put this information to use? Your prefrontal lobes (behind your forehead) is the seat of conscious self-awareness; your own audio-visual self-reflecting camera if you will. You can identify your own unwanted behavior and use the information to improve who you are and who you want to be.


Isn’t it great that we have all of this invaluable equipment! But the inner technology does have a learning curve to it. Master the tools and you will live a much more fulfilling life.



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Managing with Empathy

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Maya Angelou

Understanding Empathy and the role it plays in the workplace is not easy…it’s often a misinterpreted term to begin with.  People may think that it involves “understanding” how others feel but the understanding is an intellectual function.  Empathy involves emotion or feeling.  It is about relating to another’s situation through feeling their pain or frustration.  The ability to empathize with others is the ability to relate to them and relationships exist in our lives both personally and professionally.

Empathy in Corporate America is a rare occurrence to say the least.  We are driven by the bottom line and by intellect.  However, Empathy can lead the way back to honoring the human component of emotion in the workplace.  It serves to connect people and to establish support and teamwork.  As a manager or leader in your organization, be a model of wholeness for your team.  When your workplace environment is emotionally sterile, it actually costs the company in by-products such as poor performance, poor retention, burnout and absenteeism.  While Empathy will not correct all of these issues, it can go a long way toward uniting people and when people feel connected, they tend to work happier and harder.

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