The Emotional Labor Union
Our voices are power.

Commentary

The ELU is a safe space and a platform to talk about your experiences. Devoting time to critical thinking and interaction empowers us to sharpen our speaking skills and define the source of our feelings as well as reminds us we have voices that deserve to be heard.

Voices as Power

Emotional Blind Spots are a Bitch.

Emotional blind spots

I’ve been in therapy for months now and I’ve learned a lot. Namely, that feeling emotions is challenging for me. This isn’t to say that I don’t feel! It’s just that I’ve become so action-centric in my life that when an emotion arises, especially a negative emotion, I acknowledge it immediately and either move directly to the next step, trying to figure out what to do about it, or I self-regulate; trying to think about the grievance from all angles and determine if I should really feel as strongly as I do. I rush right past the actual (and super important) part of feeling that emotion. I don’t reflect while in the emotion. I feel it and quickly turn to the rational part of myself.

This hasn’t been an easy realization. Usually I’d find a way to bare some emotional responsibility or find empathy before I’d even be able to acknowledge that the thing made me mad, sad etc. When my therapist first proposed this idea my eyes literally glazed over and I could not comprehend her words. It straight up, no joke, sounded like another language to me.

All I could think was DOES NOT COMPUTE like some kind of robot.

It’s true we’ve all got blind spots when it comes to self-awareness and this one folks, is one of mine. Once she was able to explain to me what I was doing in a way I could understand my immediate response was,

“Ok! What do I do about it?”

Do you see the irony in that? I’d fallen right back into the trap of swiftly moving beyond how that realization made me feel to action-based, ‘what-can-I-do-to-fix this?’

There’s great power and guidance in feeling our feelings and I guess that’s why it gives me a good amount of anxiety. For me, it sounds like a colossal loss of control to sit in your feelings and maybe I’ve learned to skip that step as a way of self-preservation. I can’t be labeled ‘hysterical’ or ‘moody,’ etc. if I don’t show people what I’m feeling. I’ve internalized this idea that rational calm discourse is the way to get what you want/be more respected which is frankly complete and utter bullshit. Especially for womxn and other marginalized groups. I have a feeling this thought process resonates with a lot of womxn since we are socialized to regulate our own emotions for the comfort of others.

This learned behavior does not serve us and is something we should actively try to change. Everyone needs to know how outraged we are and it starts with feeling it ourselves.

I don’t have all the answers and I don’t know how to start feeling my feelings exactly. But I’m aware of the blindspot now and that counts for something. Hopefully this acknowledgement and increased self-awareness will allow me to put these negative pent-up feelings to good use and make some change. Imagine the power that will be added to our voices once we’re able to show our full range of glorious emotion!