Feelings are difficult. They come and go… and they almost always leave us regretting what we did or said in their wake.
In this article, I am not going to discuss not having feelings… because in many ways that’s impossible if you are alive and have a heartbeat and aren’t a sociopath.
However, what I am going to discuss is how to better manage them in life and in business.
First and foremost, I think you need to realize that it is completely natural to feel. It is natural to feel angry when someone wrongs you. It is natural to feel “curious” or “enticed” by the attractive individual that walks in the room (that may or may not be your spouse). It’s natural to feel hurt when your client decides to go a different direction after working together for a number of years.
Regardless of what anyone says, these feelings are natural and I don’t think we should ever feel the need to apologize for feeling a certain way about a certain situation. That’s ridiculous.
But, where I think feelings get tricky is when they lead to harming others or ourselves.
Feeling angry when someone wrongs you is one thing… punching him or her square in the face is another. Feeling attracted to the man or woman that’s not your spouse is one thing… having sex with them is another. Feeling hurt when your client decides to move in a different direction is one thing… sending him a nasty email is something entirely different.
The bottom line is that we can’t always control our feelings towards someone or something, but we can control how we react to those feelings.
So, here are my thoughts on managing feelings in life and business —
- When you feel something well up inside of you and you’re on the brink of exploding, step outside of the office or the house or whatever situation you are in and get some air and go for a walk. I don’t care if it is the dead of winter in the middle of July… walking has a way of placing things in perspective.
- Call-up an individual you trust that isn’t scared to shoot you straight. No… not someone that has taken your side your entire life… someone that is brave enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Tell that person the situation. Tell them to be honest with you. Ask them if you are being an asshole.
3. Talk about your feelings — voice them.
You will notice I made #3 its own section. This is because I think it is by far the most important. One thing I have noticed about Americans is that we don’t like talking about our feelings.
I am not a psychologist so I couldn’t tell you exactly why this is. But, if I were to guess, I would say it is because it makes us feel vulnerable.
But, what would happen if instead of lashing out at the person who wronged us, we talked to them —
“Tom, I am not sure if you realize this… but the joke you made the other day hurt my feelings. Do you care if we talk about it?”
By simply having the courage and willingness to have this conversation… we reap the rewards. For one, we get the opportunity to hear Tom’s side and ultimately come to a resolution. And two, by talking about these feelings, many times it results in a better relationship being built as a result.
When you get deep with someone many times they are willing to get deep in return and as a result, the two of you can build a deeper relationship because of it.
I would go as far as saying that the majority of the world’s problems could be solved if more people were willing to sit down in the same room, leave their egos at the door and just hash it out.
But instead, we either choose to make up a fabricated story in our own heads that makes us the hero of the situation or we act like we don’t have any feelings at all. And, as a result, we hold onto our pride in exchange for a couple dozen burned relationships.
But, who cares… what’s a friend worth anyways.
By Cole Schafer.