Thursday, June 5, 2008

Emotional Culture

Listening the the Dr. Robin show today, I heard this phrase,

Emotional Culture

It refers to the culture in which we are raised on how we are taught to deal with others we love, our relatives and our friends.

It made me think of the Emotional Culture of my childhood and adulthood and my desire to not recreate this culture for myself and my family. My parents are divorced and could barely handle being the same room for my wedding. My father is estranged from his brother and my mother is estranged from her sister, who by the way lives just 20 miles away from her. My brother divorced his wife and uses the daycare as a means of drop-off to avoid even seeing her.

But I don't want that for me.

I want to grow old with my husband. I want to be in my children's lives. I want their grandparents, aunts and uncles to be in their lives. I want to be strong enough to continue to have people in my life, despite the differences and challenges. I want to acknowledge that my life is better with them in it - that I am better having a relationship with them.

Now, where I pause, is how, if at all, this applies to work.

Is cutting and running the best for me, or is figuring out how to make it work the way to go. Deciding to stay in my city has slowed me down, but it is definitely important to me and worth the sacrifice. Distancing myself allows coping.

Luckily, I'm enough of an individualist and leader that I feel confident I can break the Emotional Culture pattern in my home life, and this is what endures.


yertle said...

This is an interesting idea. I had heard something like this in the last couple of days too -- about how we have a culture from our family and other cultures in which we grew up, and there is definitely a culture at my work. It is interesting to navigate it all.

Lately, I have been talking with a friend who has sort of become my management/leadership coach. He has really pushed me to go to those hard spaces - to have the conversations about the difficulties instead of letting them fester under the surface. If you feel brave, maybe you could actually talk it out with the boss. It is really scary, but I recently did one. I was able to be honest and to say that I felt like there was some difficulties and bad energy in our relationship, and that I thought something happened at some point, but I didn't bring it up etc... It was an odd conversation, and ended up with someone hugging me who I had felt very adversarial with in the past.

It made me see that lots of relationships -- both personal and work -- are ruined by being unwilling to tell the truth and to communicate. I am trying to digest the concept that the comfort comes from being willing to go through the discomfort.

I know you are strong enough to do it. I am not sure if the boss is at all able to hear it and it would have to be done carefully. What my friend told me was to go in and try to mostly listen and to try to really understand their point of view of things. It was a very interesting and valuable process for me. I have another one at the end of the month. It is hard, but it does feel like the right thing.

Sierra said...

You know, emotional culture has a real impact on your life. Some people can't bond with anyone at all, or only do so superficially until an offense is made or taken. I think it takes a stable and healthy person to know when to forgive and when to cut the toxic bonds. Only you can decide what is toxic for you. I find that when I surround myself with people that inspire me or challenge me to be better... even if it is through trial of patience or maturity, it is worth sticking through it.
Good luck to you in your decisions with work and family.

I love the new hairdo by the way. Very chic!