Where does your soul yearn to be? Is it content where and as it is or does it wish to be set free to roam the wilderness, experience new challenges, view new vistas? If a soul is not content and desires somewhere, something, or someone else, what happens to the spirit? I’ve seen many a discontent soul wreak havoc on their own spirit by drowning itself in sorrow through drugs, alcohol, overindulgence in risky behavior and even direct physical abuse to their own bodies. These are tormented souls that you can feel sorry for, have pity on.
And then there’s the malcontent soul – the scariest that I’ve witnessed. This is the soul who can never be satisfied and never accepts responsibility for the decisions that have led to their chronic unhappiness. They do not limit themselves to wreaking havoc upon themselves but can only be momentarily satisfied when misfortune befalls another. Their ship will not go down alone but is focused on dragging down the entire fleet along with them into the depths of hell.
The discontent, tormented souls have an opportunity for education and changed behavior. Malcontents have no use for anything but the opportunity to cause misery, pain and suffering to others, again and again as their appetites are never satiated. Why the distinction between tormented souls and malcontents? Your welfare depends on knowing the difference. No amount of time, learning, or providing for the malcontents will make any positive change in their behavior. They are never satisfied with anything or anyone. They continue to look for victims, to find someone other than themselves to blame for their misfortunes. Don’t be their victim or scapegoat. Call them out on their behavior. Do not accept their rationalizations, excuses or attempts to turn the problem back onto you. They are masters of manipulation, artists at playing victim and exceptionally skilled at throwing down the guilt gauntlet for others to claim as they make life for everyone else miserable in their path. And like a virus, they infect and destroy.
The lesson for leaders here today: recognize when a tormented soul is in your path and throw a life line for education and change. Recognize when a malcontent walks toward you and run like hell away from them to protect and preserve your workplace, your family, your very soul.