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Leadership Thought #430 – Be True To Your Emotions And Allow Others To Share Their Truth With You

In my line of work you know you have tapped into a serious problem when you encounter disproportionate emotion.  There have been many times where I have sat across from someone and literally watched them break down. I learned a long time ago to let the other individual have their moment and not try to downplay or negate their emotion.  You don’t make someone feel better by making them feel embarrassed or disappointed about how they feel.  All of us hit an emotional “brick wall” at times and become frustrated/upset with the rigors of life and work.  We all need people we can turn to let us be our authentic selves, even when this isn’t pretty or easy to watch.

Men are especially hardwired not to show emotion.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched another man fight back their emotional response to something.  However, you can always see it in the eyes which are indeed the “window to the soul.”  Pain and sadness are easy to spot but not so easy to surface (at least initially).  You can only internalize core emotions for so long until the pressure becomes too much to handle.  Unfortunately, men seem much more comfortable with anger which often shrouds these other feelings.  Many of us also self-medicate in a variety of ways to numb our response to a given situation.

True love and friendship often involves the courage to ask the tough questions and then let silence do the heavy heavy lifting until you get an honest answer. You have to keep digging to get to the route cause of what’s really going on with those you care about.  Just make sure you don’t push too hard too soon and let the other person dictate the pacing as long as there is progress.  You also need to model the behavior you would like to see in others and be vulnerable yourself.  It is a professional prerequisite if you have chosen a career that involves helping other people navigate the often tumultuous sea of life.

I’m glad I grew up in an environment where it was okay to be me and not cover up how I was feeling.  My mother and sisters were especially helpful in this regard.  I honestly believe that wars have been started and businesses have been run into the ground by leaders who were unable to find an appropriate outlet for their emotional baggage.  Lack of honest communication and emotional connection certainly ends alot of marriages.  We all “feel” all the time.  It’s just that most of the time we operate on a fairly even keel basis because the stimuli are fairly harmless and don’t require all that much from us.  However, each of us will inevitably encounter situations that challenge our existing emotional capacity. Embrace these moments as growth opportunities rather than trying to avoid, suppress or negate them.  Be true to your emotions and allow others to share their truth with you…it will make your life easier, richer and more meaningful.


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