About Emotions

by Anita Menon

Note 1 : A Professional who is Emotional

I am so sick and tired of people advising me about how being professional requires you to be cut off from your emotions. On the work front, especially, when you are trying to analyse the client’s business problems all the while tackling not only the client’s organizational politics but also, our own organization’s politics, it becomes more and more difficult to keep it distant and professional. As a person, I am someone who throws herself into something with a gusto of  a child curious about the world around it. Every business problem creates a sort of marvel in my head. I tend to think about it all the time, till I find a solution or a near-solution for it. But when it comes to dealing with people, I find it tremendously difficult to assess a person’s true intentions and ulterior motives. I shrug and try to keep my focus on the task at hand but then we don’t live in a perfect world and can’t remain unaffected by the external influences for long. I try to play along but not before long I succumb, completely failing to understand the big picture that involves both the problem at hand and the people creating it. As for me, I would have invested way too much of myself into the project and when I see it on the brink of collapse because of the meddlesome ways of people, I get emotional. Too emotional. That is when I get a lot of advice about how I should stop being so emotional about things. Apparently, being emotional cuts off the oxygen supply and makes me all out of control and I can’t think rationally. In order to keep all my centers of logic working in fine order, I need to keep a tab on my emotions. Here is where I am confused. I should be passionate about my work and give the best I can give to it but at the same time, if something goes wrong (which may or may not be my fault) then I shouldn’t feel anything for it.

How on earth is that possible? I don’t think that is possible for me even if I spend another donkey number of years in the profession that I am in. I love my work – even with all the stress it gives me and turns all the hair on my head prematurely grey. I love it with a passion because it is stimulating and there isn’t a single dull moment. Thinking makes me happy. A project that engrosses all my senses makes me happy. A happy me is a good person. A good person bakes chocolate cookies. Chocolate cookies make people happy. And so goes the chain. But now if I am told to squeeze the emotion out and think of it as just a job, I am not going to bake cookies ever! You get my point?


Note 2; Treat the root cause and not the symptoms

In my opinion there are some base emotions and then there are some reactionary ones.  By base emotions I mean, the ones that are so basic and absolutely true-to-the-core emotions that lead to the reactionary ones. Most often than not, I find myself analyzing my reactionary emotions. Almost, how in allopathic doctors treat the symptoms rather than decipher the true cause of the ailment. I looked around me and found most people judged me and others in their lives by basing their opinion on all the reactionary emotions that people displayed. Anger, joy, sadness, wonder, anticipation, surprise, disgust, jealousy, anxiety are all reactionary emotions. Somewhere deep down they are triggered by base emotions. Though I know absolutely nothing in psychology;  the experience of everyday dealings with people can be a wonderful teacher. Certain people are automatically categorized as happy people and some as sad and some as angry. Deep down everybody has a few base emotions ruling their reactionary emotions.

Insecurity, shame, curiosity,  pride, trust are the baser ones, I feel. Insecurity leads a number of emotions – such as fear, jealousy, anxiety and even anger in extreme cases. Curiosity which is an inborn trait, creates feelings of amazement, happiness (on discovery of something new) and shame gives rise to the most devious emotions of all – guilt.   Many a times, when I am a spectator or a subject of an adverse emotion such as anger or jealousy that a loved one shows towards me, my immediate response to it would be to either be very aggressive or completely ignore it. 8/10 times, I choose to ignore because life has taught me that most people are sad. Sad due to various negative base emotions. Reacting to their strong negative emotions only reaffirms to them that they negative emotions are the ones that will ensure their survival (emotional, ofcourse). When they get a surprising reaction of a non-reaction from me, they take a while and then doubt their own base emotions. They are led to question its very existence. If they love me enough, they even come and talk to me about it. Negative emotions evaporate and give space to mild positive ones. Over a period of time, when one positive experience builds on the other, I bet, there will be no room for negative base emotions.

Note 3: How to love

Giving birth to a child and bringing it up is like falling in love over and over again. Nobody can contest that. Growing up in a world that makes you doubt these beautiful feeling’s existence can make you skeptical or practical as many would say. A child teaches you how to love and we adults erroneously think that we teach them how to love and live in this world. Nothing could be farther away from the truth. A child who can’t yet express in words, can express through the light in their eyes about the burning love that they feel you.  Even they know that love is not all the fluffy – good stuff.  Love is hurt and sadness too but in most parts love is over-riding, over whelming, over achieving, over-arching, over zealous emotion that conquers all.

Love knows no guilt, no shame, no insecurity, distance or fear. Love is just what it is. Plain old love. Discover it in a child’s hug, or in excitement in their eyes when they see you after a day’s work in office.