Working women everywhere are concerned with the balancing act required to avoid both labels, crybaby and ice queen. We work our butts off to evoke an even-tempered, almost zen-like calm and level-headedness. But instead of guaging every response for the appropriate level of enthusiasm and frustration, I have a new way to handle my emotions. I’ve realized, it isn’t that women aren’t supposed to show any emotion at all. The reason that there’s such a thin line is because business only has room for a couple types of emotion.
Ultimately, women are quicker to cry in a culture that considers it unacceptable. It’s not fair, but it is reality, says psychiatrist Orloff. Because tears release toxins and shed stress hormones, she says it’s important that professionals do not avoid crying entirely. Rather, she advises that they train themselves to take a breath, stay neutral and not react in the face of pointed criticism or intense stress. After waiting or excusing themselves, Orloff suggests crying privately.