Day 8: Emotional Correctness & The Merits of Being Liked

1 Jan

I should have posted this yesterday, but then I fell asleep at 9pm like a Boss. Instead I’m posting today! On the bright side, before I fell asleep yesterday I did get the chance to listen to a couple of TED Talks that have given me some inspiration for my next few posts.

Sally Kohn (whom I actually had never heard of before) did a simple but poignant talk on emotional correctness– the context, tone, and feelings behind what you say. When Kohn asserts that as liberals and people, “Our challenge is to find the compassion for others that we want them to have for us” it really stuck and got my thoughts snowballing.

Something that I started up with a few friends earlier in 2013 is “Monday Night Fever”– a Google Hangout where four powerful ladies come together and talk about politically potent, personally relevant, and intellectually stimulating topics. We started off making it an “article club” (book club was a bit too ambitious) and the group and discussions morphed from there (check out our blog here). Months ago we discussed the “like factor”– women’s tendency to care more about being liked and how that gets in the way of professional and even personal growth. It’s possible at the time I wasn’t equipped to connect the dots, but the conversation felt a little bit like tossing the baby with the bath water. Kohn’s talk helped me see that part of my desire for being liked is to calibrate if I’m acting emotionally correct. This is not the only way, maybe not even the best way, but that goal I believe is embedded into my concerns for whether I’m liked. But there are also other motivations– such as vanity and fear, which can result in a chameleon affect.

In an interaction I think there are three parts:

  1. My Identity: My standalone ideology, beliefs, and values– who I am as a person.
  2. My Intentions: What attitude am I bringing to the table? What do I think about the people involved? What are my goals for the interaction– to persuade someone, to listen or learn from someone, to just have fun?
  3. The Execution: How the above elements align and what we actually say, do, or don’t say and don’t do. 

The Chameleon Affect I think is when we adapt our Execution to appeal to an audience– the classic saying what you think someone wants to hear. The coating is a different color but our Identity and Intentions stay static. I think what Kohn is asking is for us to question our Intentions or Who We Are to ensure the compassion is woven in as a key objective. This realization helps me feel more equipped to monitor my own behavior and when I feel particularly attached to someone’s perception of me: Am I seeking stamp of approval OR am I calibrating if my delivery and intentions for that specific interaction are aligned to my value of compassion.

Okay now to the challenge!

Three Sources of Gratitude:

Journaling One Positive Experience: I think this one is cheating because it happened this morning but I like it and my days are leaking over anyway….this morning around 7am I hear feet running upstairs and banging on my door (I had locked it last night because I heard this thud thud sound and got scared. Turned out it was our refrigerator freaking out…). I roll over and unlock it. My sisters comes in and boisterously shakes me awake to say goodbye. She then gives me this weird half hug since I’m still lying down and then runs off.

Exercising: I actually didn’t manage to exercise on Monday. I slipped up primarily because I didn’t think about it in the morning. I have to visualize what I’m going to do, when and whom with in the morning when I start my day. New lesson! Also knocking it out in the morning does feel good- I had a nagging feeling all day because I knew I hadn’t done it yet and then, what do you know, I was asleep! Now I know why morning joggers become morning joggers…they make a habit and then they’re addicted.

Meditation/Reflection: Sally Kohn’s words, “Our challenge is to find the compassion for others that we want them to have for us.”

Random Acts of Kindness: Today I’d like to tag team and hit up the two remaining gals from Monday Night Fever whom I haven’t sent a letter to yet. E and J are amazing women. E is a new friend and J is very old friend. Collectively their insights, joy, and friendship have been a big part of my 2013 community. I’m really proud of what we’ve created and how we’ve each committed to improving ourselves in the process. In our last discussion before the holidays we reviewed the goal we had set for ourselves way back in April, we’ve come aways since then. Week to week it’s hard to see the progress but over the span of months, the growth is quite striking. I don’t feel at liberty to share everyone else’s goals but one of my own was to address the feeling that I had been getting dumber. I’m an academic person, I like school. Working therefore didn’t fulfill me entirely. I can say, confidently, that the feeling is gone and E and J absolutely helped me get there. Thanks gals. I’ll be sending you each a note shortly.


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