It is easy for us human beings to either get stopped by emotions or get supported by emotions. Remember the last time you were in love? I know perhaps that happened a long time ago, but maybe you recently loved a movie or even just a meal. When you were feeling “in love,” that day, I know it, life was just better. Years ago I lived in Nicaragua for three months in a village with no electricity and running water. I remember how different I felt when I was dealing with issues of daily survival. I went to bed hungry every day and my thoughts were consumed with that. There was no time to think strategically; it was all about day-to-day. When would we eat? When was it time to get cleaned and was there enough water for the day?

I understand the challenges you are experiencing when you feel like you are surviving at work. Perhaps you are the boss and you can’t get your team to respond to your leadership and you are surviving the week by distracting yourself with busy work. Perhaps you are constantly triggered by your own boss, or you can’t stand one of your colleagues, so you look for ways to be out of the office. You might be so busy that all you can do is hang on by a thread and you fall asleep on the couch every night while getting barely enough to pay the rent. Last but not least, you are afraid of getting rejected and, instead of selling more, you procrastinate by being on the internet or going to meetings that don’t produce. Yes, I understand.

Today’s challenges are so severe that we often don’t know how to deal with them. Most of the world’s initial response to challenges is to complain. And we almost have no choice but to join the complainers to feel like we belong and maybe get some relief. The problem: complaining might make you feel like you belong, but it does not provide permanent relief but rather adds insult to injury. So what do we do?
Well, let me get right to it. What if, instead of joining in with the complainers, you decided to love them (this may include you as well) instead? That’s right, love them. What would that look like? You could be generous, compassionate, listen with kindness and let people know they had 5 minutes to complain and then it was time to either let it go or take some action about the issue they were complaining about. Can you imagine how your work environment would transform if you brought that kind of “love” to work. A love that would take people’s frustration and allow them to get it out, but then either challenge them to let it go or do something about it. A love that would challenge people to communicate responsibly, be accountable and take action where they can. I know it sounds hard but it might be easier than you think. Here are some steps that might help when you want to complain:

1. Acknowledge that there is something that you feel upset about.
2. Find out what is at the bottom of the issue(s).
3. Decide if you want to either let it go or do something about it, i.e., communicate with someone about it.

Here are some steps you can take when someone else is complaining to you:

1. Acknowledge that there is something the person is upset about.
2. Let them know you are willing to listen to them vent for about 5 minutes.
3. Assist them with finding out with what is really going on.
4. Support them to either let it go or communicate about it.

Learning how to deal with complaining and negativity in a constructive way is an important tool to improve your emotional intelligence.
Let’s all be more responsible toward ourselves and others…it’s a loving act. Here’s to you to saying: I don’t want to be a victim, I am going to do what I can to be accountable.