At work, we have to follow a professional demeanor when expressing one's feelings in the heat of the moment. To be effective, we cannot just fly off the handle like we do at home with our kids or significant other. It is considered unprofessional. I encourage my clients to breathe deeply ten times through the nasal passages to slow their emotions down before expressing themselves during conflict. If this does not work for them, I advise them to take a bathroom break. Sometimes a change of physical place will give one a different point of view, a few minutes to cool down and meditate on a solution rather than on the problem or the personality conflict.
On the other hand, when we hold in completely our reactions to problems, and do not express ourselves at work, it is counterproductive. Repressed feelings in the workplace can be handled by going for a run, a kickboxing class, yoga, a hike in the woods, a walk at the beach, weightlifting, or any activity that gets the heart pumping. The energy that was pent up can be released naturally and powerfully, used for a good purpose, and is healthy for our own physical and mental strength. Then the solution may come in a natural way and the person may be ready to share his or her feelings without freaking out.
Repressed feelings in the workplace environment long term may turn someone into an introvert, or into an antisocial person. The individual may turn to food for comfort, alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, become sad, or suffer from anxiety, and this may eventually lead to the blues or depression. He or she may not perform their best at work and may not be able to focus. This is a restricting way to live one's life. It affects the whole life, in and out of the work environment. It does not feel good and will not lead to success or happiness inside or outside of the workplace. We need a plan of action.
I suggest if you feel like you cannot fully express who you are at work in a conflict or in a meeting, or if you don't feel comfortable dealing with conflict at work, seek out others who seem to have it all together in that area. Ask for advice from someone you admire. Go to the Human Resources department and ask for help.
The best way for expressing yourself in a timely and level-headed manner is to write down on a note pad the conflict that irks you and what ideas or solution you have to offer. That way you will be seen as a helper rather than as a complainer. That is positive energy. Positive energy is exponential and contagious. Bring the solution to your supervisor as soon as you can. Don't wait too long to seek out assistance, or it may seem like everybody forgot about the problem but you.
Particularly closed off individuals are who I would call shy. Perhaps he or she was raised as an only child. Perhaps he or she was naturally drawn to reading in the bedroom, curled up with a good book instead of playing at the park with all of the other neighborhood kids. We need to show compassion and empathy in the workplace to those folks because we do not know the whole story yet, not until he or she decides to share.
I want to hear from you! How do you express yourself authentically in the workplace?
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