Why Emotions are Good For You

Last weekend I went to see Captain Marvel. If you haven’t seen it yet, or didn’t pick up on the hint – (no spoilers I promise) – Captain Marvel’s coach keeps telling her she is too emotional and she will not be as successful if she is driven by her emotions. He tells her to shut them off only then can she win a fight.

I am not quite Captain Marvel, but I have often been told that showing your emotions is a weakness. And if you are a woman, chances are high so have you as emotions tend to be attributed more to women. When men get angry, well they are just upset, when women are angry they are crazy or bitches. Many strategic management books talk about how success can only be achieved when you don’t show emotions. Showing emotions is a sign of weakness and it lets people know what is going on in your head. If they know, perhaps they could use it to their advantage. Or it makes you seem like you are not in charge of your inner self, how can you command a room, a division if you cannot command your inner feelings?

I don’t know when this came about but I do believe it was before my time. I don’t know why our society decided being open about how you feel – even if it’s just frowning or disagreeing was considered a negative thing. Wouldn’t a society were people were in touch with there emotions and shared them with one another sound more functional than a society of people that hid their true feelings and intentions?

To clarify, not having a handle on your feelings, that’s a whole other story. Screaming, lashing out, being abusive or disrespectful – that has nothing to do with emotions but your behavior and that has no place in this world. But just feeling what you are feeling, and saying it – we were taught that this is not ok to the extent that we can barely even recognize what we feel, let alone show it. For example frowning in a meeting. Or saying: I am disappointed you came to that decision. At one point, someone decided that at work – you should always be neutral. You can have an opinion but don’t you dare add an emotional adjective to the sentence.

Emotions are complex. If you want to feel more stable when it comes to them, I would suggest meditation or starting a diary. Start first with listening to yourself, checking in and asking yourself how you really feel. Be honest. And let yourself feel. Don’t question it and don’t judge your emotions. Just check in and know that it is ok to feel what you feel. You owe it to yourself to know how you feel. So often do I notice people only answer “good” or “fine” to “How are you” – I wonder if they were honest with themselves and honest with others, how much more we could be there for each other and feel closer to each other.

Perhaps at a later stage, once you feel and know how you feel, you will choose to share it with others. Just know that I am a big fan of your frown!

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