4. How To Manage Difficult Emotions – Even When You Are “Too Emotional”

How to Manage Difficult Emotions despite criticism that "women are too emotional." SaraEllen Hutchison, Life Coach, Feminine Energy Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Intuitive Reader for Professional Women, Women Lawyers, Women in STEM, Women in Medicine and Other Traditionally "Male-Dominated" Professions. Improve your Relationships with Self and Others, both at Work and in your personal life.

Are you tired of hearing that “women are too emotional?” Yet on the other hand, do you secretly wish that you could manage your own, powerful emotions better so that you can keep your cool? This is a common problem for feminine-energy women, especially the ones working in historically “male-dominated” fields.

This is understandable. For eons, women have been hearing that they are too emotional. And not too long ago, our foremothers fought hard to gain respect in historically male-dominated jobs like law, medicine, engineering, business, and executive leadership when few thought they could keep up.

So, over time, women responded by trying not to be overly emotional compared to men, even though everyone is emotional, it’s really just cultural expectations of which emotions are acceptable to have, and who is allowed to have them, and when.

All that walking on eggshells makes smart women second-guess themselves constantly.

“Women Are Too Emotional?”

Aren’t you tired of hearing that? But then so many of us chide ourselves for not being levelheaded enough, and we judge our strong feelings. When we do that, we are not managing our difficult emotions — we are ignoring them, which is counterproductive.

When we mansplain and gaslight ourselves that we shouldn’t be so emotional, we often unintentionally create the very impressions that we do not want to create.

When women appear to be overly emotional, it’s ironically because they haven’t been allowing their emotions enough

The problem occurs when we suppress our emotions, and put enormous energy into pretending like things don’t make us angry or sad, when in fact they do.

The truth is, our emotions are important, valuable, and wholly for us. When we believe this, and we have the tools to take better care of ourselves in the heat of the moment of an uncomfortable emotion, they become our powerful allies.

Unfortunately, we are not taught this as girls: we are told to be well-behaved. We are not taught this in our education: we are told to stop whining, crying, and feeling, lest people stop taking us seriously. (Remember Tom Hanks in “A League of their Own” saying, “there’s no crying in baseball?”)

How to Manage Difficult Emotions

In this Episode, I invite you to stop internalizing these destructive messages that “women are too emotional,” and I give you three powerful steps to manage difficult emotions so that you can show up the way you want without being fake.

To celebrate the re-launch of the show, I’m going to be giving away a reMarkable tablet to 1 lucky listener who follows, rates, and reviews the show. The raffle will take place March 31, 2022. I want your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that provides tons of value. Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter.

I’ll be announcing the winner on the show in an upcoming episode!

What You Will Discover:

  • Why high-achieving women unfortunately internalize some unhelpful beliefs about women, such as that we are “too emotional.”
  • Why trying to not be “too emotional” can backfire.
  • How to manage difficult emotions with three powerful but simple steps.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Resources for You:

Full Episode Transcript:

I’m SaraEllen Hutchison and this is the Feminine Energy Feminist podcast, episode number Four: How to deal with difficult emotions, even when you’re “too emotional.”

Welcome to Feminine Energy Feminist, a podcast for professional women who are ready to tap into their feminine energy, so they can be happier at work and in their personal lives. It’s time to redefine what a professional woman is in those historically male-dominated fields that don’t always embrace the needs and talents of women.

I’m your host, SaraEllen Hutchison. I’m a life coach and a practicing lawyer. I’ll help you learn how to embrace who you are as a woman; body, mind, and spirit, so you can be more powerful in your career and fulfilled in your life. So, if you’re ready not just to be a high achiever, but get what your soul wants too, let’s proceed.

Episode 4: How to Manage Difficult Emotions — Even When You’re “Too Emotional”

Welcome back to the Feminine Energy Feminist, Episode 4. Today we are going to deal with a very challenging topic head-on: that is the reputation women have, that even highly educated professional women have, for being “too emotional.” And I’m going to give you three steps to deal with your difficult emotions, even when people are saying that “women are too emotional” and you’re afraid of looking that way.

“Women are too emotional.” We’ve been hearing it for years. Ok, so we all know this is mass gaslighting, right? And it is wrong and should not be that way. But it still is. Just look at the last couple of American presidential elections where voters in some polls expressed doubts about the emotional strength of a woman for the most powerful job in the world.

And we can rail against it all we want, but if you’re listening to this, you probably still want to have more control over your uncomfortable emotions. Yes, to fit in. Yes, to feel more at peace. So today is not just going to be me preaching to the choir about this. I will give you some powerful woman tools to protect the scared, mad little girl who exists inside of you, and use your emotions to your advantage instead of letting them jerk you around.

Ok. So we all agree that it sucks that “women being too emotional” is a sexist and limiting belief in our world. Women have been told for years that we are too emotional, and therefore not as intellectually capable of doing hard jobs and holding a lot of responsibility, because of our emotions. And sometimes because of our cycles. Which has been discussed quite rudely by certain politicians.

And many of us, in our professional indoctrination into the historically-male dominated jobs like law, medicine, science, technology, engineering, leadership roles and business, fear most having the other women believe that we are too emotional for our jobs. So we don’t reach out to the other women for help, and yet we feel quite stung when they seem eager to throw another woman under the bus. We’ve all seen it if we haven’t experienced this firsthand. No wonder professional women continue to be, and feel, divided instead of unified in many workplaces.

So, why are we still having to talk about this? And with all the talk, why does it sometimes seem to be getting worse? The other people in the world may hold that sexist belief that “women are too emotional,” and we may naturally have thoughts about that circumstance that cause us to feel angry, bitter, or hurt. And we may not wish to be blasé about it. We might not want to Zen out. We might want to sculpt that anger into a sense of justice and then do something about it instead of losing our cool and giving them more ammunition. So today, we start with ourselves.

Our foremothers in the professions worked really hard to do what was seen as a man’s job. It made sense at the time, for credibility and for survival, to downplay the ways that they were different from the men. All genders are actually equally emotional and capable of showing emotions: news flash, people.

Culturally, we have just built up this narrative that men are supposed to do it one way and women are supposed to do it another way, and while a bit of this may be nature, much of this is nurture, and much of that destructive. So women felt, and often still feel today, that they have far less leeway to express or show their emotions because then they’ll be tagged as “too emotional.”

Most fundamentally, a woman’s ability to fluidly bounce back and forth between the right and left hemispheres of the brain to holistically problem-solve is a genius they just train out of themselves because sometimes the men, when they can’t follow the woman’s mixture of logic and intuition, get nervous and then declare it all illogical or then interrupt us to try to summarize it for everyone else, often just for their own comfort. The women, not wanting to be thought of as illogical, stop fully showing up with all their brilliance. They stop showing enthusiasm and passion, or they give you a heavily airbrushed version of it. They hesitate when speaking up. Many constantly say “sorry,” as if it were the vocalized pause that will keep them off the spot. And instead of becoming like Neo dodging bullets, we get less graceful. Less comfortable in our own skin. It seems like more we have to do these mental gymnastics to make our personalities not trigger any alarms in a male normative professional environment, the less we know ourselves after a few years.

And so we have a bit of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to thinking of ourselves as “too emotional.” Let’s give an example, and then analyze it in terms of both The Model and energetics.

Suppose you are a senior associate at a firm. Nobody has explicitly given you authority to supervise the newer associates, but they all come to you with their rookie questions. And so, you help them. Few people seemed willing to help YOU a few years ago when you were in their shoes, so you naturally want to be helpful. And, you want the work to be done correctly. Over time, it seems like you are a de facto supervisor. And then one day, one of the newer associates drops the ball on a project and a client is mad. One of the partners comes to you, asking you to explain why the ball got dropped. And you are thinking a lot of thoughts that naturally trigger anger, such as:

“This is not MY problem!” “I can’t make these other people do their jobs!” “I’m having to stop what I am doing to do their jobs too; I should get paid for two jobs!”

You don’t like that you are angry. You don’t want to look “too emotional.” So, for weeks you haven’t said anything, and you’ve just been trying to be helpful and pleasing and productive in like 100 different directions. Not saying anything and trying to just manage with a smile has been slowly turning up the heat of resentment on the back burner of your heart and mind. So when the partner comes to you wanting you to explain why the ball was dropped, the lid comes off the pressure cooker, and you erupt with complaints.

Creating the very thing you had been trying to avoid – looking “too emotional” to the people you least want to see that side of you. Do you see how the belief – “I don’t want to look ‘too emotional’” – has caused you to judge yourself and let your emotions go unmanaged?

Avoiding your emotions out of fear that they will make you look bad almost always produces the exact thing you’re trying to avoid. Today, I invite you to first stop mansplaining yourself about your emotions. Stop telling yourself the things that the patriarchy has been saying to women for eons. Stop hating on your uncomfortable emotions. Stop telling yourself that you shouldn’t be too emotional, or should keep your cool. And forgive yourself for all the years that you’ve done it.

Now in the Model, which I introduced in Episode 3, we know that circumstances are neutral, and it is our thoughts – our beliefs – about our circumstances that cause how we feel, which drives how we act, and which creates the results we get.

And I don’t like to think about emotions as being good or bad. They are all just vibrations in the body. They are all just different frequencies, and we use language to try to capture the essence of these frequencies, and we call those emotions.

And all of these vibrations are for us, they are actually beneficial for us, because they are giving us valuable information about our preferences in life and what we are thinking about our circumstances.

And how we behave when we are feeling a certain way, and what result that creates, is what is going to tell us if the emotion is productive or unproductive. Often, uncomfortable emotions can be very productive, like commitment, determination, and even grief.

But what if no matter how we try to con ourselves, we still strongly believe thoughts about circumstances that lead to really big, strong emotions? Should we try to mentally jujitsu ourselves with personal growth tools like the Model until we numb out how we really think and feel, so we can act super chill? It makes about as much sense as trying to ignore a toothache.

I don’t think that’s the most healthy or efficient use of these tools. But that’s often one of the first things smart, high-achieving women try to do when they get a hold of a new tool. They assume they’re broken and need fixing, and so they go overboard trying to use the tool to fix themselves for once and for all. Did you get a Bedazzler when you were a kid and then put rhinestones on everything, making everything look…too horrible to wear? Or maybe it was too much Sun-in in your hair. It’s easy to overdo certain things.

So, when we understand that yeah, it’s our thoughts, of course it’s our thoughts that create how we feel, the next step is NOT to then beat yourself up over what you really think and feel. The next step isn’t to go whole hog trying to change your circumstances, either, because you would be doing so from an unproductive emotion.

The next step is to accept and even embrace exactly how you are feeling. You are being like the horse whisperer taming the wild horse gently, rather than whipping that horse.

So now I am going to give you the three steps to handle a very wild horse emotion, in the moment.

#1. Validate and Accept

So going back to our example of the senior associate who finds herself being a de facto supervisor, let’s explore what soothing thoughts are available that won’t ignore, belittle, or suppress the anger, but simply accept it without it needing to change. Some examples are:

“Of course I feel angry; I’m thinking that I’m being blamed for the actions of others.”

“Of course I feel angry; I’m believing that I should get clarity on my role here at this firm and also get paid appropriately.”

You will notice something amazing when you validate yourself instead of cutting yourself down. Your strong emotion will usually shift, while at the same time you are still taking responsibility for the fact that it is your thinking that is causing your strong emotion. You will still have that emotion about the situation, but you will also be simultaneously summoning some more productive emotions, beginning with acceptance of yourself. Once you are in that tamer vibration, you will be able to see other angles about how you can then address things in your circumstances that you don’t like.

#2. If the strong emotion comes up again, actually FEEL it.

If the strong emotion comes up again – and if this is a big issue for you it most certainly will – no need to go re-analyzing your thoughts about it and trying to jump to a better thought. You’re not there and it’s completely ok. You just need to actually feel the emotion. Your body is giving you a signal to heed. All this step involves is to set a timer on your phone for 90 seconds and just observe the feeling in your body with curiosity. It won’t bite you. Pretend you are watching a nature show. How fascinating.

I also suggest closing this 90-second meditation with the affirmation that “I am an adult woman, no longer a girl. I can handle this.”

#3. If the strong emotion is overwhelming and you really aren’t in a place where you can deal with it, do the jeweled box visualization.

I promised to get into the energetics a bit in this episode, so here we go! We can powerfully affect our bodies and minds when we use visualization. If you are in the throes of a very difficult emotion and having trouble holding it together, close your eyes (not now if you are driving), and imagine that you have a beautiful jeweled box. This is a magical box that can hold onto emotions for you when you aren’t able, and even predigest them a little bit so they are easier for you to process later. It’s kind of like Pandora’s box, just in reverse. You are putting the chaos back inside the box. Not to lock it away forever, like some mystery undated foil wrapped lump of god-knows-what in the back of the freezer, but just until you can properly honor it later that evening.

Imagine that you are carefully placing the emotion inside the box, close the box and the latch, and set the box on a shelf in your mind behind you. Ask your angels, guides, ancestors, helpers, higher self or subconscious mind – whatever feels right for you – to work on it on your behalf while you get back to whatever else you need to do. Then when you are ready and in a space where you can process the emotion, visualize yourself opening up the box, honoring what is there, and then doing step #2.

So those are the three steps. A few pointers: If you have a mental health diagnosis or sense that you have a lot of unprocessed emotions, you should use the 2nd and 3rd steps with the aid of a 1:1 live coach, healer, or mental health professional. Sometimes without the aid of a 1:1 professional, we skip over the real work and get little benefit, or we go too deep, freak out and retract from the work. So, definitely, seek out the help that is the best fit for you. But, if you are in a pretty good place overall but just have garden variety issues with stressful circumstances like I described in the example, you know if that is you, you are probably fine to try this on your own. The first step of validating your honest thoughts and feelings is perhaps the easiest one to do for yourself wherever you are. And every time a woman does that, the b.s. belief that “women are too emotional” loses a bit of its power. What if in one generation we could completely let go of that, such that it no longer makes sense to anyone? We can start with ourselves. Thank you for doing your part!

Before we wrap up this episode, I’ve got two announcements.

One, is the raffle. I’m going to raffle off just one remarkable tablet of these to one lucky listener who follows, rates, and reviews the show. I need a bunch of reviews and ratings and entries before the end of 2021, because I will be randomly selecting one winner on January 1, 2022.

It doesn’t have to be a five-star review, although I hope that you love the show. I do want your honest feedback, so I can create an awesome show that provides a ton of value.

Visit lawyergoddess.com/raffle to learn more about the raffle and how to enter. I’ll be announcing the winner on the show in an upcoming episode.

Two, if you are a professional woman wanting to better manage all the feels in work and life, talk to me and we’ll explore how coaching might be just the missing piece you have been needing. Go to lawyergoddess.com/contact to message me.

Thanks for listening to Feminine Energy Feminist. If you want more information or the resources from the podcast, visit lawyergoddess.com/podcast. See you next week.

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