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no hard feelings: the secret power of embracing feelings at work

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Anyone who knows me knows that I feel big feelings. Big, big feelings. Big excited feelings, big angry feelings, big frustrated feelings, big silly feelings. I try to put my feelings on a diet, so that they’re not so gigantic, and I feel like I succeed about 75% of the time. You may be thinking that I am grossly overestimating my success rate. I hear you. I admit that my original estimate was 60%. But here we are.

I was having a conversation with a friend recently about showing emotion and being emotional at work. I’m very much in the camp that we need to feel our motherfucking feelings and that once we name it, we can get past it. However, approximately 99% of the world is 100% uncomfortable with feelings in general, and when it comes to feelings at work – you’d be more likely to have a very detailed and graphic conversation about your latest IBS flare-up than acknowledge that you’re an actual human being who occasionally feels things other than total and complete calm and happiness. It isn’t realistic nor possible for people to always be even keeled and only show positive emotions and I’ll literally fight anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.

My friend’s point was that showing emotion is unprofessional, too confrontational, that it makes you lose credibility and the respect of those around you. I think that this is partially true. The truth in it to me is that in the world we live in – the bland, flat, overly polite world we live in – being emotional is seen this way because most people can’t tolerate ever being uncomfortable or being around anyone who is feeling uncomfortable and letting you know about it. I think this is for a few reasons. One, I think most people are extremely sensitive and they take personally. You can’t be angry without someone thinking it’s about them. You can’t be frustrated without anyone thinking it’s about them. It’s a bit ridiculous. Hashtag triggered.

The next reason makes more sense to me. I think that anything that makes people feel uncomfortable automatically makes them want to fix whatever is causing the uncomfortable feelings. This is definitely something I experience. I am a natural fixer. I get this hard. But, news flash: sometimes people just want to vent.

I also have a suspicion that people who don’t like expressing emotion are actually jealous of people who are willing to express it, so they push back on people who do. Just me?

The flip side of this is that not only can you not express “negative” emotions, you also can’t express “positive” emotions. Heaven FORBID you get excited, enthusiastic, passionate, or thrilled. You’re TOO MUCH, erratic, silly, immature.

Qué maniado.

Clearly all this has got me ruminating and experiencing EMOTIONS. So I started googling and found this book, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Feelings at Work. I can’t wait to dig in. I’m not expecting it to tell me that people should just be allowed to BE FEEL SAY DO whatever they want. But I do expect to learn a lot about how to be a feeler at work and not feel bad about it.

I’ll update soon. For now, FEEL THOSE FEELINGS, GIRL.

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