Dealing with negative emotions

In my last article I talked about turning redundancy into opportunity and some simple things people can do to regain control of their lives, rather than succumbing to despair. In this article I want to explore some of the negative emotions associated with being made redundant and some thoughts on how to deal with them. 

The world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) talks about the ‘Big Five” negative emotions: Anger, Sadness, Fear, Hurt and Guilt, and in the case of redundancies all five of these can hit people in one giant blow to the system. Imagine if you have just been made redundant; you may feel the following emotions.

Anger: You have just lost your job and it doesn’t feel fair. Although the redundancy decision was not personal, it certainly feels that way. A decision was been taken for you, against your will, that impacts your life and that of your loved ones. Of course, you’re angry, and how does being angry help you? It doesn’t. What needs to happen here is that you need to take responsibility for your own feelings of anger and turn them into something more positive such as drive, motivation and a determination to succeed. 

Sadness: You have invested a lot of yourself into your work and into building relationships with the rest of the team and other people around you, and this is now ending. Letting go of things that are important to you can be painful, however, it can also be a pre-cursor to a new beginning. Relationships do not have to end; they can last. Keep your doors open and the bridges intact – use this as an opportunity to grow your network even more. 

Fear: This is a big one, especially when times are tough there are likely to be huge anxieties about the future. 

What will I do? ………

Where will I go? …….

How will I earn money? ……..

How will I manage my debts?……

 What if……? 

Suddenly your personal vision for the future has changed and what used to be clear isn’t. That can be scary. Let’s face it though, in times of uncertainty the future is unclear for everybody and an amazingly adaptive person like yourself is about to enter into an intensive personal learning journey. As Claus Obermeyer said, “When a problem comes, be nice to it, because it tries to teach you something”

Reframe your fear as excitement and you will see things differently. 

Hurt: There are often strong feelings of rejection associated with being laid off. This is where people ask themselves the questions: ‘Why me’ question,  ‘Wasn’t I good enough?’ and ‘What did I do wrong?’ 

Be careful with these as they indicate a belief that it was your fault and that leads quickly to the last of the big five emotions, Guilt. Instead, recognise that the redundancy decision was not of your making, express and accept how you feel about it, because it is painful, and when you are ready let it go, release it and learn from it. 

Guilt: Is an emotion people often experience when they feel that they have done something wrong, something that is against their own moral code. For example, not being able to provide for the family, not being able to pay the mortgage or regretting decisions that they made in the past that have put them into the position they are in today.  

The reality is that Covid-19 is not your fault and nor are the repercussions from it. You are not responsible for the global economy or travel restrictions. You have to stop looking back at things and events that you are not able to change and instead look forward with excitement, knowing that you will get through this. 

In my next article I will look at the R.A.G.E. model and how it can be used to help people get through the tough times.