Photo by William Arcand for Flanelle Magazine
I grew up thinking that emotions are a sign of weakness. Especially in business. As women we’re often told if we want to make it in a man's world we have to put aside our girlish tendencies to feel, care, be compassionate, an attitude ingrained in men since they were children. That toxic masculinity, be strong, be cold, be cut throat, show no compassion, show no fear, have no feelings or else you’re weak weak weak. Women are allowed to have feelings although these said feelings are what relegate us to being dismissed as frivolous. Women are emotional, erratic, dramatic. As if passion is a bad thing. This extends to relationships with men as well. Growing up wanting to stand my ground, be treated as an equal, it became clear that being a high maintenance demanding emotional girl or girlfriend was to be avoided at all costs. I wanted to be the chill girl. The laidback girl, that could hang with the boys, that put aside typically feminine character traits, that didn’t need a ‘lame’ label like girlfriend. Easygoing, laissez-faire, open minded.
By being ‘chill’ and putting aside my feelings I was denying a crucial stage of development and of the human experience. Yes it will hurt. Ya, my feelings won’t always be reciprocated. Sometimes people will laugh at me. Maybe they'll think I'm stupid and emotional. But speak your truth anyways. Put it out there. It’s the only way to live if you want the possibility of authentic and meaningful experiences. We are a results focused society. We judge ourselves based on the outcome. What I’ve recently learnt is to make decisions based on my values, on what is in line with who I am and what I want to put out into the world. Regardless of the outcome. This can be applied to anything from what to wear, what to post on instagram, what to text that boy you have a crush on, how to approach that job interview. I’m not saying we have to always say everything we’re feeling. I’m saying we have to make more self-honouring choices and become more comfortable with discomfort. The more we are aware of our feelings, the more honest we are with ourselves, the more honest we can be with others. We’ll stop seeking out those damaging experiences and we’ll stop reliving old, unfulfilling patterns and have a chance at real connections.
Besides, people tend to mirror your vulnerability. And if they don't, well fuck it. You'll feel liberated and empowered by having opened up instead of hiding being the facade of cool.