Emotions are a real and vital part of our lives. Most of the time we are not aware of the emotional work we are doing but our emotional state is affecting us physically, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. And it is greatly affecting your success in your work. Your emotional work may be exhausting you and holding you back from success.
God has given us a wide range of emotions that help us navigate life. There are positive emotions and also negative emotions. They all have purpose depending on the circumstances but if managing our emotions is requiring lots of emotional work, we may be in trouble and not even know it.
Here are a few of those emotions:
Fear, anger, sadness, joy, trust, anticipation, shame, hurt, envy, love, peace, disgust, kindness, courage, respect, frustration, loneliness, guilt, insecurity, amusement, excitement, dread, and so many more.
Here are 4 signs your emotional work may be costing you a great deal and holding you back from personal and organizational growth:
- You often try to control your emotions.
We often see controlling our emotions as a good thing. While it is true that unloading unbridled feelings on others is not good, it is also dangerous to be in an environment where you must constantly use energy to control your emotions. It takes lots of physical and mental energy to control emotions. If your job is requiring you to expend lots of energy holding back emotions, you may be exhausted with little energy left for productive outcomes.
- You have to show emotions different than what you really feel.
To fake your emotional response requires work. If you boss likes competitive energy and language that requires aggressive emotions, you may be working hard to fake your own emotional responses to fit in. Or you may have a boss and work culture where only positive emotions are valued, so you have to fake being happy when you are really frustrated with the results. Faking your emotions on a consistent basis is requiring a great deal of sideways energy that isn’t getting you anywhere.
- Your values are not aligned with your company’s values.
When your personal values don’t line up with the culture of your organization, it will require a high level of emotional work to function. If your company is a market driven, competitive culture and you are more relational and like a family environment, you will have to make significant emotional withdrawals that can leave you exhausted. If you like control and prefer a top down approach to leadership but your culture is a collaborative team oriented culture, you will constantly be frustrated at the time it takes to include others in decisions. We all have certain preferences, personalities, and styles of work that when aligned with our values and the values of the place we work, our emotional work is more fulfilling and less demanding.
- No outlet for dealing with unresolved conflict.
If you are having to stuff issues with no productive way to address, negotiate, or seek resolution, you are using lots of emotional energy to suppress these emotions. You will start doing work arounds to avoid certain people or certain situations. You will become passive aggressive without being aware, trying to pull back but with lots of emotions right below the surface. The emotional work required to stuff issues is not sustainable. Evidentially, these emotions will spill over in all areas of our lives.
If you are having consistent challenges with exhaustion, depression, and maybe even burnout related to your work, you may want to do an assessment of your emotional work. For a week, keep a journal of your emotional state after significant meetings and after each workday. Try to define both what you are feeling and why. It may be that your emotional work is preventing you from being successful in your work overall. If so, it may be time to make some changes in your current work environment or consider changing your work environment.If you are having consistent challenges with exhaustion and depression, it may be related to your work. Click To Tweet
What are some other signs that your emotional work may be exhausting you?
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30