Yet, lately, I am beginning to see hyperbole like a new enemy.
Some compelling and empowering truths that have come about through the rise of social media is that the fear of feelings and the stopping of feelings is being called out. It is now welcomed and encouraged to feel your feels. We teach our kids to do it, we have coaching programs centered on it, managerial styles are developed around understanding them.
Mindfulness (one of my favorite things!) invites us to be present with them.
All this is healthy and good, to my mind. Feelings for the win!
Still, the shadow side of this is that we’ve become a people where our feelings are ruling us, and the unspoken competition of whose individual feelings are more intense subtly underminds community.
These big, scary, awful feelings (see what I did there?) become expected. And when we do not feel them… we wonder… am I cold? Insensitive? Am I unable to be in touch with my heart and mind?
Hyperbole has contributed to a need for a heightened emotional response in our lives to anything that is happening to us. From cilantro to sock texture to corporate layoffs.
Is cilantro really “disgusting”… do we really “loathe” it? Is it a slimy mess of green poop-leaves?
Or, is it simply mildly displeasing and we do not prefer it?
Two very different mental states, eh?
And if I come to a big decision about my family, or my business, from a place of loathing cilantro, how am I really going to be even and calm in the face of firing a beloved but under-delivering employee, or rebuilding my budget from the ground up with new profit margins that require me to triple my rates?
It’s sneaky, this hyperbole. We use it to elicit a laugh or give those around us permission to vent. In this way, it’s good.
But when hyperbole becomes our baseline? I am not so sure.
When things are financially looking grim, we tend to go into “I AM GOING TO WIND UP UNDER A BRIDGE!” instead of “I am scared I’ll have to go back into debt (or deeper debt) on my credit card”.
When someone has hurt us, they are dead to us, instead of someone we simply avoid.
When clients require nothing more than velvet rope boundaries, we construct barbed-wire-topped walls.
Then, when it’s time for the decisions and feelings that are rightfully intense, we are too exhausted, too spent, to accurately grasp the gravity of our feelings.
If everything is important, nothing is. If nothing is important, everything is.
One of the ways I see us growing as business owners is in our abilty to zoom out and see things for what they are and give ourselves permission to not feel so intensely. Not over-react, or over-fear, or over-emote.
This is a skill.
Not so long ago, it was not okay at all to feel all the feels. Now, it is expected to feel all the feels.
It is a goal of mine in quarter four to find the delicate and truthful center of the pendulum swing so that my mind and heart are guarded against the enemy of hyperbole.
I will seek to employ hyperbole, rather than be ruled by it. How about you?