My Dear Luck,
Thank you for being around. With work experience of more than 15 years, I have had many experiences. Since a year, I have been in a new role and like any ups and downs in a boss-subordinate relationship; I go through some unwanted discussions and justifications. While, I can handle the debate, what is more difficult is to handle my emotions. I get teary-eyed as soon as I start the subject. I feel embarrassed about it. I have been working for so many years and yet I feel have to justify myself. Sometimes I avoid a topic as I fear I will break down. What should I do?
The Cry Baby
Dear Cry Baby,
It is ok to cry. And it is ok to cry in front of a team or a boss.
My cry memories from the early hostel life at the age of 16 is not one of crying in front of parents or friends, but in a corner on the terrace standing tall, facing the road and crying as if, I am not crying but just standing and looking over the terrace. I was hiding my crying.
In early days of work, anguished in pain of rejection of an idea, I would be angry but wont cry. Very angry. But I felt, crying would make me look weak. So I would hold crying.
I would not cry in movies. I would not cry in front of friends. But a few years later, when I became a mother, my biological settings changed and my tears would flow at the slightest of any emotional sting. I would cry at work. I would think about my newborn and would feel I can cry more. Eyes would well up and I would walk away from the subject, almost giving it up. One thing that has kept me going, “Work speaks the loudest” and that is the best antidote to any negatives. I was also hashtagged #passionate. But that is a good thing, to be passionate about your work. To protect my work, I also learnt the art of debating with welled up eyes. I learnt, women are different than men. All emotions make them more sensitive. Expressing emotion is not a sign of weakness. It may be out of place at times, but it is no where close to being weak. Getting teary eyed is almost like just another sneeze. Can you control a sneeze? You say sorry, pick up a tissue, wipe your nose and move on. Being emotional in a board room is like that.
Apologize, take a few seconds break and bring your attention back to the subject. And you will be fine. And most importantly, do not think about what others in the room think about your tears, but be concerned what they think about the points you make. In your mind and thoughts, during and after an interaction, bring the attention back to the subject, where it matters. Crying doesn’t. Courage is not wearing a shield all the time; courage is also simply standing up.
Now, stand up for your own crying. Take one step at a time. First- when you feel you would well-up during a discussion, tell yourself you can handle it. Second step- rewind the moment in your head and watch yourself how you handled it. Third step- practice step one and two. Fourth step- you wont need these steps any more.