02/15/20                                                                                           Volume 4 Issue 60

                                                           Best You Guru™

                                                           Emotional Labor


Energy expended

The process of managing our feelings, thoughts, emotions, and expressions to fit society expectations and norms takes a tremendous amount of energy. We are expected to regulate our emotions whether it be on the job, at play, or in personal relationships. The energy expended is called emotional labor. 

Too often people will risk personal health in expending energy to satisfying the emotional requirements of “fitting-in”. The effort to control and change our emotions is associated with stress, burnout, and cardiovascular disease. Stress produces cortisol which plays a role in many diseases and illnesses. Cortisol levels are important in cardiovascular disease. The prolonged stress of acting out of character increases autonomic nervous system activity and will compromise the immune system. Psychologists Judith Grob explains that people who suppress their emotions, their true identity, have the propensity to see the world in a more negative light. This negative view impacts life experiences and physical well-being. Negative insights are developed along life’s path. We are born with a vision of what is possible. Negativity is a construct that harms our inherent greatness. The energy expended in emotional labor is thought to be necessary in our modern world. We must awaken to the inherent possible harm to our body and mind in connection with emotional labor. 

Personal transformation

The identity of a person has morphed into employees and consumers with little regard for hopes, dreams, aspirations, or sensitivities. A person’s authentic identity is being ignored at a great expense to humankind. Our self-worth and society’s perspective of our life is too often based on our ability to gain employment or our economic prowess. It is frequently based on the social acceptability of the type of employment. Not only must people be employed to gain social approval but they must be employed in a socially approved profession and achieve a status of superior consumerism. These demands cause people to extend a tremendous about of emotional labor.   

Consumerism based on the amount and types of products on display for the approving sector of the populace creates internal conflict. Character, kindness, commitment to humankind’s positive advancement, or integrity matter little in the arena of public opinion. We are witness to the passing of an era where the character of a person was enormously important into a period where personality has seen a rise in importance. The quote “To create a personality is power” has never been more important in American history. Personality has always found a place in every society but our current era finds personality to be of considerable value. Advancing technology has perpetuated the power of personality. The personality movement persuades people their value is found in business and their consumption. A new field, influencers, has become commonplace. People are paid very well for their ability to persuaded people to purchase products, attend events, or click “like” on a social media platform. Character, sharing, kindness, empathy, sympathy, and love have little reward in a personality-driven culture. Status, income, and self-esteem depend more than ever on the ability to meet the demands of the personality culture. 

The ability to lie or to fake sincerity is a skill rewarded in a personality culture. These behavior patterns are discouraged in a culture valuing character. In a personality culture, people will forget the lie but become enamored with how the lie is told. How the lie is told has become something to admire. Toastmasters International has a speech topic called “truth or lie” where the idea is to give a speech where the presenter convinces the audience of a lie. The judges of the speech is an audience of fellow Toastmasters. People are training to effectively lie. We are training people to lie convincingly. This is not a harmless activity. A lie not only harms the relationship with the people hearing the lie but it also hurts the person telling the lie. Your spirit enters a stage of turmoil when the words you speak are in disagreement with what your spirit knows as the truth. The expenditure of emotional labor used in communicating a lie harms the human spirit. People want and need to be heard in a manner congruent with their authentic identity. The true souls of humankind are being purposefully silenced. Our lies cost us. Whether we speak them or live them, lies cost us. 

Action step: Be judiciously aware of your thoughts. Listen carefully to words. Watch your actions and their impact. Make every effort to ensure your thoughts, words, and actions are united in purpose.    

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