How To Effectively Complain in the Workplace

As a former human resources manager, I can assure that most employees are not aware that they are annoying you. You may find your loved one’s quirks adorable, but when it comes to your colleagues’ annoying habits, some simply drive you crazy! From coast to coast, Canadians in different sectors of the economy write to … Read more

Managing Different Personality Types on Your Team

Meet Jana Hashim, HR professional and fashion model. A multitude of personalities, work and management styles, along with deadlines don’t always make for the most harmonious of environments. For Hashim, this is simply an opportunity to work her magic. She thrives on the challenge of disseminating personality quirks, building teams and resolving conflicts. “I think … Read more

What Highly Sensitive People Need to Be Happy

Growing up, I was a very sensitive child. One of my earliest memories is of freaking out after seeing a particularly bad story on the news. I don’t remember what the story was about, but I do remember running into my bedroom, plugging my ears, and making up a song about how “everything will be … Read more

Caution! Using Self-Labels Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

The Voice of Reason | Psychology Today
Article originally posted here.

We often see the world through dark-gray lenses that color our life experience and twist or distort everything to the negative. It’s one of the main symptoms of depression, but labeling yourself in this way is also common among anyone who experienced harmful, stressful, or negative life experiences as a young person and may have come to believe the critical statements as true facts.

What do I mean by a self-label? It’s a description you place on yourself, or a way you regard yourself, that is narrowly focused and pigeon-holes you in a certain way—in this case, in a negative light. Such labels are usually not correct but are a distortion of the real facts. For example, it might be that you tell yourself, “I’m no good,” “I’m the plain one, not the pretty one,” or “I’ll never amount to anything.” Or you may hear in your head statements like “You’re lazy” or “He’s the good one, you’re the bad one” and believe that this status is a permanent condition and not “fixable.”

You must ask yourself where these negative statements came from. Who is “saying” them to you, if only in your head, and why? Do they come from a parent or other authority figure who had an impact on your early life? Just because an influential or controlling parent says something about you does not mean that it is true. Parents or grandparents, teachers, clergy, and other authority figures are human, have flaws, and make mistakes. But as a child, we do not know or understand this and cannot challenge them. We believe their words to be true and take them inside of us, through the process known as internalizing. Ask yourself now: Do these statements have any foundation or basis for the truth? The answer is almost certainly No.

There is a danger in believing these negative statements and declaring yourself permanently “no good” or “unfixable.” Believing something that is not a true reflection of you can cause emotional pain and suffering. It can have a major impact on the way you see yourself and think about yourself—and how you present yourself to the world. In thinking this way your mind is closed to the possibilities of what you might accomplish, or who you might become in the future. Experiences and opportunities that might have been available to you no longer are. Since you don’t give yourself a chance, you set yourself up for failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

So how do you avoid using labels and keep them from overtaking your thinking? It takes a lot of concentrated effort—a good thing to work on with a therapist—but you can also address it on your own. Here’s one way to begin: First, be aware and try to identify when it is happening. Next, challenge your negative thoughts one at a time. When you recognize a negative label that you have just applied to yourself, stop and ask yourself if it is really true. Try to think of where in your past it came from, and who it is who might have said it to you. And then ask yourself if that thought really applies now.

It can be helpful to search out evidence for and against the negative thought as you try to challenge it. Try this exercise: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On the top of one column write Evidence For and atop the other, Evidence Against. Start to fill in the two columns with concrete examples from your life that speak for or against the negative thought or label. You should soon see that the negative label has little to support it.

It’s Time to Start Talking About Menopause at Work!

Menopause is rarely a topic of open discussion in the workplace — despite the fact that nearly half of the world’s population experiences or will experience this biological transition, which marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility. According to a study from the Society for Endocrinology, a startling one in four women will … Read more

Healthy Relationships are Never Conflict Free: They are Conflict Resolving

Work relationships are never conflict free. Indeed, I would say that HEALTHY relationships are never conflict free BUT they are conflict resolving. Here are some practical insights for your workplace conflicts that ensure your relationship wins. The problem is, we fight for victories instead of fighting for solutions. The result is one wins, one loses, … Read more

What Primates Can Teach Us About Managing Arguments During Lockdown

The world may be reopening in some places, with people looking forward to pubs, restaurants and haircuts. Many of us will no doubt also be looking forward to some time away from home – alone – once more. Spending such prolonged time in close quarters with others puts strain on relationships and increases social tension. Tempers … Read more

Cracks and Conflict: “But it is Just a Little Crack”

It started as just a little crack in the windshield. A tiny rock had caused it. You had lots of time to do something about it, and maybe you would not have to get it fixed. It was not impairing your ability to see and likely it was not going to get any bigger. Then … Read more