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  • Writer's pictureAli Astrid Moto

The Emotional Labor Show: Your VIP Pass to Understanding the Heartfelt Hustle

Rose Hackmans's book Emotional Labor

I'm going to begin this Blog Post by telling you a story about a mental health therapist named Ali.

In the quaint town of Boise, Idaho, nestled amidst rolling hills and winding rivers, lived Ali, a mental health therapist renowned for her empathetic nature and compassionate heart. Ali was the go-to person for everyone in her family when it came to emotional support. She was the one they turned to in times of distress, the one who held their worries and fears in the tender embrace of her understanding.

For years, Ali didn't mind being the emotional anchor for her family. She prided herself on her ability to provide solace and guidance, believing it to be her duty as both a therapist and a sister, daughter, and aunt. However, as time went on, she began to feel the weight of this responsibility pressing down upon her shoulders like crushing anvil.

Ali didn't have the words to describe her feelings until one day, during a therapy session with a client, she stumbled upon the concept of emotional labor. It was as if a lightning bolt had shot into the office, from the heavens above, illuminating the hidden truth behind her exhaustion and frustration. Emotional labor – the invisible work of managing and regulating emotions – that was what she had been carrying all along.

Armed with this newfound understanding, Ali felt a surge of liberation coursing through her veins. She realized that she didn't have to bear the weight of emotional labor alone. With a sense of determination burning bright within her, Ali marched back to her family home, ready to enact a change that would alter the dynamics of their relationships forever.

Gathered around the dining table, Ali's family listened intently as she explained the concept of emotional labor and how it had been affecting her. At first, there were looks of confusion and skepticism, but as Ali elaborated on her experiences, a collective realization dawned upon them.

Her daughter, nodded in understanding, recalling the countless times she had relied on her mom to soothe her anxieties without considering the toll it took on her. Her husband and neice exchanged guilty glances, acknowledging their tendency to lean on Ali for emotional support, often without reciprocating.

With a newfound sense of solidarity, Ali's family pledged to share the emotional labor load. They agreed to be more mindful of each other's feelings and to offer support and comfort when needed. No longer would Ali be the sole keeper of their emotional well-being.

In the days that followed, Ali felt lighter than she had in years. The weight that had been drowning her, had lifted, replaced by a sense of relief and freedom. With her family by her side, she navigated life's ups and downs with renewed vigor, secure in the knowledge that she was no longer alone in shouldering the burden of emotional labor.

As the seasons changed and life unfolded its unpredictable tapestry, Ali and her family stood united, bound by a newfound understanding and a shared commitment to lighten each other's emotional load. And amidst the laughter and tears, they found solace in the knowledge that together, they could weather any storm that came their way. Hahaha! I wish it was as easy as this. The truth is, understanding, integrating and sharing emotional labor in a society that prides itself on being "hardworking" and has built itself on the back s of those doing the emotional labor, is more like navigating a three ring circus where the trapeze artist, clowns on bicycles and fire swallowers' are all on stage at once. It can be a real shit show.


Step right up, folks! Welcome to the Emotional Labor Extravaganza, where feelings take center stage and empathy is the main act. Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey through the highs and lows of emotional labor – it's like a rollercoaster ride for your heart!

Now, I know what you're thinking – what in the world is emotional labor anyway? Well, think of it as the secret ingredient that makes every interaction sparkle with sincerity and warmth. It's the behind-the-scenes magic that keeps the wheels of society turning, whether you're soothing a crying toddler, calming a frustrated customer, or lending a sympathetic ear to a friend in need.

Let's break it down with a few examples, shall we? Imagine you're at your favorite coffee shop, eagerly waiting for your morning pick-me-up. As you approach the counter, you're greeted by a barista with a bright smile and a cheery "Good morning!" Ah, but behind that smile lies a world of emotional labor. You see, the barista might be feeling tired or stressed, but they put on a happy face to make your day a little brighter. It's like watching a masterful performance – one that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Or how about this scenario: you're at work, knee-deep in a project that's starting to feel like a never-ending maze. Suddenly, your colleague pops by with a pep talk and a reassuring pat on the back. Sure, they might have their own deadlines to worry about, but they take the time to lift your spirits and offer a helping hand. That, my friends, is emotional labor in action – the art of spreading kindness and support, even when your own plate is overflowing.

But wait, there's more! Let's not forget about the unsung heroes of emotional labor – the caregivers, the customer service reps, the frontline workers who navigate a sea of emotions on a daily basis. From comforting a grieving family member to defusing a tense confrontation, these everyday superheroes deserve a round of applause for their tireless dedication to spreading love and understanding.

Now, I won't sugarcoat it – emotional labor isn't always a walk in the park. It can be exhausting, draining, and downright challenging at times. But as Rose Hackman once said, "It's not about eliminating emotional labor, but redistributing it more fairly." So let's band together and share the emotional load, lifting each other up when we need it most.

So there you have it, folks – a crash course in the captivating world of emotional labor. Next time you're on the receiving end of a heartfelt gesture or a warm smile, take a moment to appreciate the emotional labor that went into making it happen. After all, life's too short for anything less than genuine connections and heartfelt moments. Until next time, keep spreading those good vibes and wearing your heart on your sleeve!

Come with me over the next few months as we decipher, grow and start to learn to share the emotional labor in our own lives.

Ali Moto


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