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Emotional Labor Vs. the Energy Spirituality Solution

Emotional Labor. Are you involved in a struggle with somebody who says, “You owe me”?

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.

For Example

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?

  1. Immigrants doing unpleasant, menial jobs that other Americans don’t want.
  2. Working as a Pullman Porter, back in the day. (Then a top job for black men. So much fun, if you loved smiling!)
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. Next, I’ll do a Skilled Empath Merge. Experiencing, in consciousness, what it is like to be you. (Helps me help you better.)
  4. Following that, I’ll select a Healing Centerpiece from over 30 different skill sets currently available. (Skill sets exclusive to Energy Spirituality.)
  5. 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.)
  6. Don’t be surprised if I give you a bit of optional homework. Helping you to receive even more results.
  7. 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.)

In Conclusion

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.

  1. The point is to choose one method to help that you prefer. And give it a chance.
  2. 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.”

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Join the Discussion

  1. 1
    Claudia says:

    Never heard of this before, Rose.

    I find it hard to believe in this.

  2. 2
    Steve says:

    It’s good to read an intelligent article about emotional labor. in the background, I had a vague sense of it as a way to make guys feel bad.

    Now I can appreciate, it really is a way to make guys feel bad.

  3. 3

    CLAUDIA and STEVE, chuckling a bit, it’s good to hear from you. And I can see your points of view.

    Yet, the concept of Emotional Labor must have struck a chord with some people, because it’s in Wikipedia, plus there are loads of articles praising it. Let our informal survey continue!

  4. 4
    Colleen says:

    Hi. I think I’ve got an answer for you.

    Sometimes people find it really hard to speak up. From my perspective, reading about emotional labor could give some people permission to speak up and ask for what they want.

  5. 5
    Colleen says:

    On the whole, I think this is a good thing, although I personally don’t need this kind of permission in order to talk with friends to solve problems.

  6. 6
    Colleen says:

    The idea to have Energy Spirituality sessions, or whatever, is really good.

    I think personal help about how to speak up, or else get past old STUFF in one’s aura about relationships, could be very useful.

  7. 7

    COLLEEN, thank you. I think you’ve hit on something important.

    My heart goes out to those who find it hard to say no, or to solve problems with others short of saying goodbye.

  8. 8

    This is a power skill, ultimately. I feel it is one of the most sacred and human skills that a person can ever learn. And if the concept of Emotional Labor gives even one person a way to find the strength to speak up, it will have been worthwhile.

    But surely, it has helped many more people than that.

  9. 9
    Living on Earth says:

    I’ve not specifically heard this term before. So Googled it.

    In addition to what you described Rose, the online article continues, which you also mentioned:

  10. 10
    Living on Earth says:

    “At the same time, though, the term has taken on another, heavier meaning – one that’s specific to marginalised people.

  11. 11
    Living on Earth says:

    “”In this case, it’s the more insidious, wearying work of having to pretend you’re not as bothered by microaggressions in the workplace as you really are – whether those aggressions are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist… any situation where you feel like you’ve been stereotyped, or your identity has been attacked in some way, and you have to pretend that it’s fine.”

  12. 12
    Living on Earth says:

    This, in a way, reminds me of office politics. A big open playground of pretense.

  13. 13
    Living on Earth says:

    Much later on I found out that’s the way the system was set up in that place.

    Genuine reactions are not well received. No matter how ‘right’ you are. So if you can’t “fake it”, you have to figure out a way to gain your power back!

  14. 14
    Living on Earth says:

    That’s where RES comes in. Self actualizing and using your power to get what you want.

  15. 15
    Living on Earth says:

    I’m still learning a lot of the social skills aspect of the equation.

    What to say/do in the objective reality. BUT not as a victim. A powerless, stuck in a rut hopeless victim.

  16. 16
    Living on Earth says:

    Nope. Even if I can’t change all the situations where the heavier meaning of the Emotional Labor takes place. I know deep in my bones that I have a choice to say and do something about it.

  17. 17
    Living on Earth says:

    And when you are clear enough, through the help of RES for example, it gets so much easier to use your free will and discernment to change the situation.

  18. 18

    LIVING ON EARTH, thank you for these eloquent comments.

    It’s true, when giving links to you Blog-Buddies, I’m hoping that some of you will click and find more to enrich your experience of the blog post, and you’ve done that beautifully here.

  19. 19

    Office politics as a “big open playground of pretense”!

    I hope it doesn’t have to be that way for many of you. Still, I know that I’ve helped quite a few of you to overcome that experience, or the equivalent. And I’ve never heard anybody describe that plight better than you have done here, in that Comment #12.

  20. 20

    And in Comment #13, you brought up a theme that many of us are learning: “No matter how ‘right’ you are,” life is situational. Work and also relationships.

    Oh, the complexity of life here at Earth School can be such an incentive to us all to keep living, keep picking ourselves back up when we need to. And, above, all to keep pursuing emotional growth and spiritual awakening/integration.

  21. 21
    Kylie says:

    I’ve never heard of this before. But it sounds like a broad generalization, The kind of generalization that lumps in problems related to all kinds of energetic stuff, stuff that could be removed with sessions of energy spirituality.

    And by then doing and saying things in objective reality to get more of what you want.

  22. 22
    Kylie says:

    For example, not going along with family member’s expectation that you will be the communicator for all other family members–a role that many women play, sending all of the cards, arranging the reunions, etc.

  23. 23
    Kylie says:

    Or not smiling every second at work, no matter what kind of job you have.

    You could raise your eyebrows instead. There is a wide range of polite behavior and nobody has to knock themselves out with fake smiles.

  24. 24

    KYLIE, you put that so well. Thank you especially for dubbing Emotional Labor ” a broad generalization, The kind of generalization that lumps in problems related to all kinds of energetic stuff.”

    For any of you who missed it, we had one of our fun research projects here at this blog (where you, KYLIE, were an important contributor) on the topic of Fake Smiles. Very relevant to that Comment #23.

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