Almost everyone has experienced one of those days where they want to run out of the office, having a full-blown temper-tantrum like a five-year-old. But do they do it? Absolutely not.
There is a stigma around showing emotions in the workplace. Plain and simple; you can’t do it. So, the question is: why not?
The obvious answer is that the second they show sadness, irritation, or any morose in the workplace, it creates this weak cloud over their head. From a young age, we learn that weakness is a negative aspect or “bad thing.” The textbook definition of “weak” states, “The state or condition of lacking strength.” This is the misinformation we are given as a child. There is a difference between being physically weak and obtaining weaknesses.
Why can’t expressing your weaknesses be a sign of strength?
With this being said, professionalism in the workplace is a top priority. We are taught not to cry or show sad emotions because it is unprofessional and a sign of weakness. This is where we see the divide between professionalism and humanism. Being professional requires one to put their personal issues aside and focus on the work at hand. There is no room for sadness. Here is where the conversation needs to shift because we must remember that everyone is human.
Being a human being means having out of the ordinary incredible days. Having days where you simply cannot get yourself out of bed or experiencing days where you just want to cry. It means having days where you miss your family and friends. Whatever the day’s emotions are, they should be experienced to the fullest extent. If that means having a good cry for an hour in the middle of their shift, then that’s what should happen.
Regularly performing as the strong, professional individual everyone expects of them can become an intense burden. Especially when one bottles up all of those emotions, it can cause an extreme amount of pain and explosion of all of those sensations at once.
The constant reminder that you look weak when you cry or deemed “bad” is why people tend to keep their emotions bottled up inside. Alysse Della Torre, who is a central sterile processing technician at Midstate Medical, expressed, “Everyone has their moments though like I’ve seen most of my co-workers cry or almost cry.” She also explained how she and her co-workers continuously support each other when they have their moments and let it all out on the table. I have also personally seen colleagues of mine express similar emotions in the work environment, and there was no shameful discussion regarding the incident. We are all human. Emotions can be uncontrollable at times, and we should not be required to continually suppress them in fear of being shamed by their equals. Instead, associates should uplift and supply comfort to those who are struggling that day.
It is essential to acknowledge that crying in front of everyone may not be an option depending on their office environment. Nonetheless, going to a separate room, the bathroom, your car, or even an isolated area outside is always an option. In any case, if one is working in an environment where they are dealing with clients, it is best to let them know they need to take a second aside and pass them on to another colleague.
Sure, will there be times when one will have to suppress it all? Yeah. Though it shouldn’t be all of the time. There is a time and place for everything; however, one should feel comfortable letting their emotions out at a place where they are for eight hours a day, five days or more a week. Truthfully, even twenty minutes to take a second to catch a breath or slowdown is okay!
Gesture welcomes those who are strong enough to reveal their emotions and be human. If you or anyone sees someone showing signs of stress, sadness, or painful feelings in the workplace, please reach out and offer your kindness and support.