“Sucking It Up”

Male” and “corporate.” Those two words, used in a relatively narrow and traditional sense, can easily be used to describe many of the expectations we have of how we are supposed to behave in groups/organizations/workplaces even if our groups are neither “male” nor “corporate.”

When we gather, we’ll be all business. We will be prompt, we will get our work done, we will be efficient and then we’ll be on our way. We will remain buttoned up and battened down.

Actor Daniel Craig Crying (Subtly)

Actor Daniel Craig Crying (Subtly)

And if we have any experiences that fall outside the perceived realm of propriety, we will shove them aside and we won’t let on. We will suffer (or rejoice) in silence.

This is called “sucking it up.”

Now, I think it’s sometimes helpful to be able to reign in my emotional life, to control impulses, to appear calm even when I’m  nervous. But I also know that denying those experiences—pretending that they don’t exist for whatever reason—can be both harmful and unnecessary.

I also know that, in many cases, when those sorts of experiences are expressed/acknowledged/included in a group it is usually a good thing. It releases stress, it taps the power of vulnerability, it opens up territories of knowing, it connects us. It is simply honest. For the individual body it is almost always better to move through an experience rather than shunting it aside. I believe that is true for the group body as well.

Take a look at your world, though. Where does the “suck it up” principle predominate? Who sets that tone? Are there places in your life where there is room for a wider range of experience? What is that like? Which sort of situations would you prefer to be in? Which feels more whole?

If we are to have body wise organizations, we simply must acknowledge the full range of human experience—mind, body, heart, spirit. This is a central piece of body wisdom  from the InterPlay philosophy. I truly believe that if we follow this wisdom, our groups will be happier, healthier and more hopeful.

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6 Responses to “Sucking It Up”

  1. Pwll says:

    Excellent, Phil!

  2. Dyck Dewid says:

    Participating in your Teamwork and Beyond Event recently, I had the actual experience ‘seeing’ my whole body (mind, body, spirit, heart) connect to the Group Body. I seemed to glow with creativity and energy. It felt like having all this was fun, soon melting my inhibitions.

  3. jean martinolich says:

    No I can’t come, but I would like to see you come down here to the Louisiana Gulf Coast and get BP to play with our Coast Guard and fishermen. Would it help to close up the well faster? I am not meaning to sound sacastic, but I realize it does. Really, I am trying to think of ways to use InterPkay here in a way that does not dismiss the gravity of the situation. What we have is a slow motion tragedy that unfolds while we become more aware on a daily basis of our powerless as individuals or even as groups to affect any change. They even refuse to let us get down there to soak up the oil on the edges of marsh with our own hair.

    • Pwll says:

      @Jean. I do think that InterPlaying the distress might open up creative centers that would allow for new ideas. Also I think it helps us not be so frozen in our despair. We dance it and we can move on to doing something.

  4. cynthia says:

    hittin the nail on the head again Phil. Actually, sucking it up is something i learned in ballet.

  5. Beandrea says:

    Appreciate your definition of sucking it up, especially the part “we will suffer or rejoice in silence”. There is something powerful about naming the unamed. Plus I’m getting the physical act and the body deal the word implies in a whole new way. Thanks for the link to the ‘Crying Men’ too.

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