Emotional Labor is a snazzy newish term. It could be important socially, psychologically, ethically. Or it might simply be a lame way to guilt other people.
For sure, Blog-Buddies — surprisingly or not –“Emotional Labor” is a thing.
Today’s article brings you perspective on it. A perspective you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. Helpful if you care about self-actualization.
Plus, reading this article can prepare you. Just in case somebody asks your opinion of Emotional Labor.
Very likely you’ll have an opinion on it… by the end of this article. Whether mine or something different. (Which is why your COMMENTS are always invited.)
First of All, What IS Emotional Labor?
Sociologist Arlie Hochschild coined the term in her book, “The Managed Heart.” Theoretically put, Emotional Labor means you’ve got to do what? “Induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others.”
Or, to put it another way, “How unfair! Some jobs demand that you wear a great big smile on your face. Like, it’s part of your job!”
And, golly is it a coincidence? Jobs that require the most outward cheer are often “women’s work.”
What a Way to Make a Living!
Later, writer Gemma Hartley has made her name by complaining about Emotional Labor. Tying it to gender roles and housework. (Pointing out that often women are the ones who “have” to nag about routine chores.)
First she wrote an article for Harper’s Bazaar: “Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up.”
After it went viral, Hartley parlayed her success into a book: “Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward.”
Even more, Emotional Labor became a thing. (According to Google, today, it brings up 142 million hits.)
Who Does the Most Emotional Labor? Men or Women?
Women, of course. As described in the New York Times, adding my own colorful touches.
- The division of emotional labor often (but not always) corresponds to traditional gender roles.
- Talking about an imbalance in emotional labor is the first step to overcoming it.
- A couples’ therapist can be good for partners who want a judgment-free discussion zone.
And here’s when I start to find this conversation annoying. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Not Everybody Believes in Therapy as the Cure to Life’s Ills
Although the New York Times clearly does. Along with mainstream media.
At least, this is true of outlets which don’t substitute Fundamentalist Christianity. Because, millions consider that the real solution. Because “The church offers a program of salvation, and the plan is Jesus will solve all those problems you mention when he comes, which might be soon.”
Granted, Collective Consciousness promotes both “solutions.” (Or perhaps we might call them both “religions.”)
Regardless, I’m not a believer in either. If they help you now, or have helped you, more power to you! But what about all the people who haven’t gotten results? Unless you count feeling bad about themselves as a desirable result.
Regarding psychotherapy, here’s an example from just last week. During our session, my new client Gladys learned a simple way to improve her life. Unbeknownst to her, she’d slipped into an unproductive consciousness lifestyle. Psychological Overwork and also Spiritual Addiction!
For her Healing Centerpiece in that session, I described how to solve the problem. Neither fundamentalism nor psychotherapy.
Long ago, Gladys had been to therapy. Afterward she stopped. And promoted herself to the role of psychotherapist.
Such a popular way of improving her life! Witness the ginormous number of hits on “Be your own therapist.” Oh yes, 208 million hits.
Obviously, I believe there’s a role for psychotherapy. Also for psychiatric medication. Thank God for the brave mental health professionals who help their patients.
Sometimes I refer new clients to them. Since I only work with the “worried well.” Meaning, self-actualizing people who aim for self-improvement. In contrast to folks who struggle to function without professional mental health services.
Many alternative approaches are more contemporary than variations on Martin Luther’s religious views.
Or what Sigmund Freud started. (Freud became popular 100 years before the Shift into the Age of Awakening.)
For example, I prefer using a very Age of Awakening method for helping people to self-actualize.
Probably you’ve heard of it, since you managed to arrive at my website. Energy Spirituality helps people to solve problems. To grow emotionally and evolve spiritually. Using energy healing skills that work now, in the Age of Awakening.
But Why Consider Emotional Labor a Women’s Problem?
Or a psychological problem?
Perhaps a specific form of social injustice?
Alternatively the premise for wrenching conversations about ethical unfairness?
Or even an important sociological problem?
Underdogs Usually Have to Wear a Fake Smile
Then, Settle for Being Underpaid
Ms. Hartley’s indignation about housework inequities as though this produces victims? Rather than flagging Emotional Labor as something negotiable? Definitely a third world problem!
Really, let’s get real. Who else has ever had to do Emotional Labor?
- Immigrants doing unpleasant, menial jobs that other Americans don’t want.
- Working as a Pullman Porter, back in the day. (Then a top job for black men. So much fun, if you loved smiling!)
- How about working with the public when you’ve got a visible disability? Perhaps having the “job” of responding amiably. Even when people look down at you contemptuously!
- Or simply doing your professional job — for which you’re well qualified. Supposedly, not a job involving Emotional Labor. Except that you’ve got to put up with white folks who don’t know how to talk to a “person of color.” (Btw, last time I checked, all humans were persons of color. Ever notice?)
You and I, both, could name more examples, correct? Sadly, even, we might name some examples from personal experience….
But here’s the interesting point, in my view.
Sadly, there may not do much you can do to change certain kinds of unfairness. Such as the quartet of aforementioned “look happy and carry on” jobs. Not do much, in these positions, other than learn about forbearance. And, maybe, develop extra compassion.
But complaining about unfair Emotional Labor with your partner or spouse? You can do a lot to change that.
How a Session or Two of Energy Spirituality Might Help You
(Including Help with Relationship Problems Due to Emotional Labor)
Look, if you’ve got a relationship prob, aren’t you used to theories?
Sometimes you might spend hours, discussing who did what and said what.
Alternatively, you might play therapist — or ask a friend to play along with you. Trying to understand what you really felt. Or what really motivates the other person.
By contrast, I offer Energy Spirituality clients a very different approach.
- Quite early in every session, we’ll agree on one specific intention. (That’s where you’ll look for results, after the session is over.)
- I’ll set us up co-creating with a form of the Divine you’re comfortable with. Such as God or Jesus, Kwan Yin or The Intelligence that Rules the Universe. (Co-creation is essential for all the 10 trademarked systems for self-actualization in Rosetree Energy Spirituality.)
- Next, I’ll do a Skilled Empath Merge. Experiencing, in consciousness, what it is like to be you. (Helps me help you better.)
- Following that, I’ll select a Healing Centerpiece from over 30 different skill sets currently available. (Skill sets exclusive to Energy Spirituality.)
- And then I’ll follow the procedure selected. Moving out subconscious and energetic STUFF. (Which, in my view, is what keeps people spinning their wheels.)
- Don’t be surprised if I give you a bit of optional homework. Helping you to receive even more results.
- And if it’s a relationship problem, once that STUFF is gone… Then I might teach you something about using your power. Appropriate personal power. (That word power appears in a lot of my self-help books, actually.)
What can you do if you’ve got a problem with Emotional Labor?
- Whether you feel taken for granted
- Or you’re tired of all the guilt inflicted upon you.
Don’t give up. Find a solution that works for your personal relationships. Energy Spirituality might help, but so might other resources.
- The point is to choose one method to help that you prefer. And give it a chance.
- If it doesn’t do the job, go back to Step 1.
What else can help? Please, don’t bully anyone — or let yourself be bullied — by using a certain unnecessary term. A term that might even seem ridiculous to you by now. (As it does to me.)
Definitely, give yourself permission to avoid cringing… when somebody starts complaining about what you owe them… due to “Emotional Labor.”