Don’t apologize for using the “F” word at work

Don’t apologize for using the “F” word at work
“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.”
~Benjamin Disraeli

I refer to Feelings as “the F word” in business. I’ve witnessed over the years that many people – many people – still seem to think that we should somehow leave our feelings at home when we come to work.

I disagree.

Over the years I’ve come to accept that I am human. Simply human. (That’s a long story for a different blog post.) And part of being human is having feelings. That just is as it is.

Feelings are actually a positive. Or at least they are when they’re felt – and managed – effectively. But any way you look at it, we all come with them. And pretending not to have them, or apologizing for them, doesn’t work.

Our immediate gut reaction to someone or something is a truth. It’s how that occurrence, or the person, has affected us. It’s our reality, at least in that moment. And apologizing for that is denying our truth.

What happens next, though, is hugely important. Because we may have an immediate gut reaction to someone or something, but what really matters is what we do about the situation. Or the person.

I may become infuriated at something you say. That is my truth. But my choice is whether I explode (or seethe), or whether I find a way to move past my anger. Or at least to express it appropriately. I may feel hurt by the final decision my boss makes, or left out when my peers have an impromptu meeting without me, and again, those are my truth. What matters is whether I examine my feelings – and my reasons for them and thoughts behind them – and whether I choose a constructive way to discuss my feelings. Or to simply let them go and move on.

Our feelings have so much to teach us about ourselves and our values (and our wants and dreams and fears), but we have to pay attention in order to learn. And when we apologize for our feelings we lessen how much we listen to them, which, in turn, lessens our ability to learn.

Don’t apologize for your feelings. Feel them. Learn from them. Share them when appropriate. And then move on towards what you want and what you’ve learned.

How have you learned from your feelings?
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