There’s been a lot of debate recently on whether or not it’s okay for women to cry at work. Some call it a professional taboo, while others are rejoicing in the fact that women are able to share their emotions and even cry at work. Back in 2013, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook made famous by her book Lean In, said that it was okay for women to cry and share their emotions at work. But is there a point where emotions can go too far?
When it comes to emotions in the workplace, I am a firm believer that there is always room to get mad, sad, cry, and even get angry if it’s done in the right way. When you feel like crying at work, it’s okay to shed some tears. In fact, 40 percent of women and 9 percent of men have admitted to crying at work. Getting your emotions out in the open by crying isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But for women especially, learning how to control your emotions can be a very helpful skill in a workplace dominated by men and the “don’t cry at work” mentality that so many of us have today.
4 Ways to Handle Your Emotions
- Stop and Evaluate.
One of the best things to do when you’re having a breakdown, temper tantrum, or simply feeling overwhelmed is to just mentally stop yourself and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself why these feelings are present, and be very specific.
- Find something positive about the situation.
Finding one positive thing about what’s happening can make the entire bad situation turn into something good, no matter how terrible you might feel. If you can see the upside, it can make putting up with difficulties feel worth it, and that can have a huge impact on your emotional state.
- Consider your options.
Consider what steps are open for you to take next. You can react, do the opposite of what you would normally do, or remove yourself completely from the situation. Sometimes, the best option is to remove yourself from the situation. This can mean a temporary break, or it may mean that you need to be re-assigned so you’re not working with the same people. If it’s your boss, you need to sit down and have a civil conversation on why he or she frustrates you. If you don’t feel that you can have this kind of conversation with your boss, you can start by confiding in a trusted friend, or contact someone in HR.
- Bawl your eyes out.
You’re like, what?! Bawl my eyes out? Sometimes you just need a good cry. Go into the bathroom, go home on your lunch break, or shut your blinds and close your door and just bawl your eyes out. Sometimes you need a good cry to get over a situation. Don’t let it control your life, but if you’re just feeling terrible, go ahead and cry. Let it out. I mentioned a statistic earlier in this post that 40% of women admit to crying at work and 9% of men admit to it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if that turned out to be a low estimate.
Controlling your emotions at work isn’t easy, but if you can take these small steps, you’ll be able to get through your workdays in a much more focused way. Your emotions are telling you something, and you need to pay attention to them and perhaps take steps to change the situation. But you don’t have to let them run the show.