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You Can’t Argue With How Someone Feels

By March 16, 2022Articles

In a recent conversation with a leader, he was sharing the frustration he was experiencing with a team member. This person had expressed how they were feeling about a situation that had happened in the business and he didn’t agree with how the team member was feeling. He felt it was completely unjustified and blown way out of proportion.

I listened to his version of what had happened and how he felt the team member should be dealing with it. I then said to him “you can’t argue with how this person is feeling. I also can’t argue with how you are feeling about the situation. That is not up for debate – ever”.

Here’s the thing – you can’t tell someone how they should feel about anything. How they feel is how they feel. You don’t need to agree or disagree. What you need to understand is we are all different; with different values, beliefs and experiences that have formed us so we will have different reaction to things. Arguing with someone about how they feel is fighting a losing battle and it can be a costly one.

A better strategy is to listen to understand why they feel the way they do and to help them move towards a solution if possible.

Image by Hayley Kaye @iamhayleykaye

Just after I’d had this conversation, I saw this image on a LinkedIn post last week by Hayley Kaye and it really struck a chord with me. There has been so much happening in the world over the past two years that has impacted us all individually and caused us to feel things in ways we haven’t before. Managing the mental health toll and the burnout associated has been something most of us have been touched by in some way or another too. It’s a lot to deal with.

It’s ok to feel. It’s necessary to let yourself feel and to understand that you may feel a range of emotions in any given day. Happy sad and somewhere in between. Whatever you are feeling is ok in any given moment. You don’t need to make excuses. Allow yourself the space and the time to process how you are feeling and to also understand if you need further support. It’s important to reach out and ask for help if you need to.

You never know what someone else is going through. Be curious and be kind and listen to understand. I say that for two reasons – the first – do that for you (yes, be kind to you) and the second, to do that for others too.