Name the Tension


You walk into a meeting. The air is thick. Not with cheap perfume or old cologne. The atmosphere is thick with tension.

You believe you could cut the tension with a knife. The tension is that thick.

You know the reason for the meeting. Others in the room do not. This increases the tension.

What should you do? How do you remove the tension from the room?

You name the tension. You let your team know you recognize there is tension. And you give it a name.

Almost every tension we face has a name. This is true in the business world and our personal lives.

Yet, we’re afraid to name what’s wrong. We cannot bring ourselves to give what we’re feeling or sensing a name.

But have you ever given a name to the tension?

The tension begins to fade away when we’re willing to name it. When we’re willing to bring it to light.

When tension begins to rise, give it a name.

  • Upset at your wife for not putting the cap back on the toothpaste, name it. Let them know.
  • Frustrations rising at work because Samuel didn’t finish the TPS reports? Name the frustration. Don’t let it go unsaid.
  • Hurt by unkind words spoken by a coworker? Name the hurt. Lovingly confront the coworker.

When we keep our frustrations, pain, and hurt unnamed, we cannot deal with them. When they are named, we can deal with them.

  • You let your wife know that the toothpaste issue bothers you. She now knows the problem. She works on fixing it. The tension lessens.
  • You talk to Samuel. You tell him the report is late. He apologizes. The information is on your desk later that day. You feel your tension towards Samuel melt away.
  • You mention the hurt you’re feeling to your coworker. She didn’t realize her words hurt you. She apologizes. The relationship is mended. The tension is gone.

Holding things in, hiding your feelings… These things will not make your life or job better. Only by bringing light to the issues you’re facing, naming them, and then confronting them will you release the tension.

Your relationships will improve. You’ll begin to feel better. You might even start to think better of others.

Name the tension today.