Letting go of resentments is a fourth powerful tool to help you survive and heal from workplace bullying. In my last blog post I wrote about three valuable inner tools I used myself and have since shared with clients and trainees. These are: 1) affirming your worth, 2) visualizing protection, and 3) healing your past and present trauma.
Letting go of resentments in the face of bullying or mobbing may feel counter intuitive at first. Resentment and rage could feel like sources of strength. And, these negative emotions are perfectly natural responses to being abused. Clients initially say, “They were horrible to me! Why should I let go? How could I possibly forgive them?”.
But for me and for my clients, harboring ongoing negative feelings can make us sick and keep us stuck.
My personal wake-up call came one day at my toxic workplace when I was filled with bitterness and powerlessness in the face of continuing verbal assaults, lies, and blatantly unjust treatment. On that day, as I walked out of my office and turned the corner into the lobby, I was overwhelmed with rage and hate toward everyone I saw.
I scared and shocked myself with the intensity of these feelings! I am not a violent person. I never ever wanted to harm even my direct abusers. I just wanted them to stop.
Feeling blinded by hate, even fleetingly, I knew my spirit was in trouble. If I were to survive and move forward to create a better life, I would have to find a way to let go of this corrosive bitterness and resentment, no matter how justified I felt.
I began to send positive thoughts to all the people who were actively attempting to harm me, affirming and praying for their highest good. This was an evolving list of about 12 people. For each one by name, I asked for their physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and transformation. I asked that they receive everything I wanted for myself, and I asked to let go of bitterness, resentments, rage, shame, blame, and despair. I did this daily for over 5 years.
It was extremely hard at first to get through the positive statements without choking, and I didn’t at all believe what I was saying, but it got easier over time.
I discovered the act of praying for my “enemies” made me feel more peaceful and less powerless. It had nothing to do with what they deserved. I never forgot how cruel and wrong their actions were, but I felt less trapped and more detached from the situation. Eventually, a bit of compassion for them also came to me. I realized how terrified they were of losing privilege, and fearful of change in general, which I represented to them. They believed unconsciously that their very survival was at stake, which to them justified their unscrupulous lies and evil behavior.
This daily act of positive thought did indeed help keep my heart loving instead of bitter. And it aided my ability to truly move forward with my life once I left (escaped). Without that healing work of letting go, challenging though it was, I may never been able to rebuild my life and find a new immensely satisfying career. I have since helped many clients create their own versions of this prayer, and it has supported their healing, along with other practical and spiritual steps to let go and recover.
About Lorraine Segal: As a teacher, trainer, consultant and coach, I am passionately committed to helping people in organizations and companies learn skills to release conflicts and misunderstandings, communicate better, heal from bullying, and create a more harmonious and productive workplace. I teach communication, bullying awareness, and conflict management skills at Sonoma State University and online, and create customized programs for businesses and non profits as well as working with individual managers and employees. For more information about how we might work together, or to request a free short consult or a full session, visit ConflictRemedy.com