March 2021 Editor's Fix
Lately, I have thought a lot about women being labelled as emotional. Like it’s a negative attribute and something that should be discouraged and avoided. This has made me realize that people seem to have created a habit of commenting on other people’s emotional states.
“Don’t be such a baby.”
“Take it easy.”
“You’re being too emotional.”
Let me tell you, this is not an effective method of having a constructive conversation with anyone, regardless of their age or the gender they identify with. I too am learning!
I have caught myself saying, ‘stop crying’ to my girls. Yes, of course it is super frustrating for your five-year old to be having a tantrum because she cannot have a hot chocolate before bedtime. What does saying, ‘stop crying’ accomplish? Shame? Frustration? Confusion? Likely all of the above, along with the situation escalating.
I’ve found that meeting people where they are and empathizing with them are fundamental first steps. With my five-year old, sitting down on the floor with her and saying, “Yes, it totally sucks that you can’t have a hot chocolate! I know how much you love it.” All people want to feel heard and respected and know that how they feel is important. Now, we’re in this together and can work our way through it.
Emotion is an amazing tool. If we can label how we are feeling and why, and try to do the same for others, instead of making assumptions or judgments based upon our predispositions (in this case, that being emotional is negative)… wow, the possibilities are exciting.
Of course, it can be extremely challenging. Not only have we been trained to think a certain way, we also have to navigate this when we are tired, stressed, frustrated and multi-tasking! But, I promise it gets easier the more you do it. And by continually choosing to do it, you literally are rewiring your brain and creating a new habit… and one you can be proud of.