Personal, Personal Experience

Reflections on Negative Mood and the Work Environment

This past week, I had the unfortunate experience to watch some fellow co-workers get bent out of shape because of their perceptions about one another. Specifically, how one or the other treated each other. Granted, I will say that there was some stressors that influenced these, but they were outlying and did not directly play a role in the conflict. In other words, they related to perceptions of time limitations, schooling, other jobs, and so forth.


I have made a point of trying to stay out of conflicts that are not my own. For one, I detest drama. It’s ridiculous, and there’s far too much of it going on these days. One only has to turn on the television to see what I’m talking about.


However, I did try to point out one very important fact that I have learned through my own experiences. No matter who you are, you cannot control another person’s choices, actions, and reactions to outcomes. Period.


The one thing we have control over in our lives is how we choose to think, act, and react. The one thing we can control is ourselves. In a work environment, especially a high-stress one like fitness (or, in my husband’s case, the military; but there are many more), it is of the utmost importance to conduct oneself with professionalism. If a problem arises, instead of sulking and crying and making a scene before patrons (which I unfortunately had to witness), it behooves us to go to someone we can trust and talk about the situation. Oftentimes, those in higher positions see things differently and can give us a better understanding and perspective of what’s really going on.


But, to me, that is only if one cannot go to the person who is causing our discomfort and discuss it with them in a business-like manner ourselves. I have had one of those instances several years ago, when I thought the person in charge of me was not going to take my complaints reasonably. I discussed it with a superior but remained open to the possibility that all of this was merely my own perceptions and not the reality of the situation; then I let it go. It is quite possible that our own feelings can get in the way of us seeing things for what they are.


More often, however, I’ve had the good fortune of being able to directly discuss whatever issues come up with the person whom I feel is offending me. And, more often than not, I find that not everything is the way I see it. That there is more to the situation–including extenuating circumstances–that compound the “offender’s” behavior.


I can make allowances when I understand better what is happening. I can also let things roll off my shoulders when I remember the most important fact of any job. We can only control ourselves. We have to learn to let slights and offenses go because, if we don’t, we are only hurting ourselves.


I wish that more people took the time to think about this simple fact. As adults, we ought to be able to handle hard situations in a reasonable fashion. That is, instead of gossiping or sulking or in some other way tearing down the cohesive fabric of the workplace so that is vital to the operation of a business, we ought to reflect upon our own moods and behaviors. Are they contributing to the problem instead of the solution? Are we allowing them to swing out of control?


In general, it has been my experience that those with a more positive outlook tend to do their best to bring others up when they are down. Yet again, we cannot control their decisions with regards to moods and behaviors. Just as I was unable to convince the one who created the scene to let whatever bothered them about the other person go.


Things to ponder. I reflect upon my own moods and behaviors often, because in the end, when we’re at work, the job must get done…and it can be done with a dark mood hanging over everyone’s heads, as is often the case when poor choices exert their influence, or with a cheerful smile. It is not that negative moods should not be recognized nor taken into account as coming up with a solution. Rather, they should be controlled, redirected when possible, and dealt with in an appropriate manner. And when dealt with in the best way possible (for let’s face it, sometimes you have to get ugly to be heard), not only will you feel better but the negative mood that dragged down the workplace will be lifted. In letting go of the negativity holding you down, you free yourself from the bitter control of another person’s bad mood, and there truly is nothing more liberating or healing.


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