Showing emotion need not undermine your authority. On the contrary, it can underscore your commitment to your work. It all depends on how you spin it. If you have a meltdown, instead of saying “I was too emotional” to account for your behavior, say, “I was very passionate.” According to a recent study, those who pulled the passion card were perceived to be more competent than the ones who said emotions got in the way. This makes sense, of course, considering how the two words have very different connotations in the professional world.

“Being passionate is often stated as an important attribute for employees; passion is associated with determination, motivation and having a high degree of self-control. Being emotional, however, has almost a negative mirror effect and is associated with irrationality, instability, ineptitude and a low degree of self-control,” explained lead researcher Sunita Sah, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University.

Showing emotion from time to time makes us human and not a NARP (Not A REAL PERSON), as my stepson calls people are incapable of expressing emotion.

When I first became a doctor, I remember bursting into tears the first time I had to tell a family that their loved one had died. I did my best to keep it together but the willpower to look professional was no match for the tears streaming down my face. At the time, I was mortified.  A few weeks later I received a lovely note from the family. They said they were touched by my tears. It showed how much I cared for someone they loved dearly.

This post originally appeared in Marie Claire Magazine