Many find it difficult, uncomfortable or pointless at times to talk about what they are feeling or even acknowledge something is wrong. This does not mean these people are without problems or that they are perfect even though some work hard to maintain that exterior perception. It means that the potential for continued struggles and pain is high. The reason for this is because of the need that our bodies have to emote and the strain it feels when we choose to hold it in.
What causes a person to withhold feelings or expressions of emotions, one may ask. There are many reasons why people do not want to share their feelings or emotions including and not limited to: past hurt or trauma, difficulty trusting, inability to explain it, maybe they were told it was “uncool” to in the past, and even power and control. When we withhold those feelings or emotions from coming up we are doing more damage than good.
If we look at the emotional center of the brain as a cup then we could use situations and feelings as water drops. When those water drops are put into the cup and are ignored, they do not evaporate on their own. Instead they are stored as memories that we may not consciously think about. Following the water analogy, if we continue to not process or acknowledge what we are feeling those drops become so numerous that the cup will eventually overflow.
Even if we believe that those emotions and situations “just go away” our cups are still filling up. Our brains are only equipped to hold a certain amount of emotions. Without working through them with a trusted individual we run out of space. We begin to feel tired, sad, disinterested, frustrated, irritable, clouded, and even distracted. Those feelings get in the way of our daily functioning and can cause stress in relationships and our lives.
Emotions are an important function in our lives. Emotions serve a purpose. They used to be there for our survival and they are one of the main differences between humans and other living creatures. The ability to process and think critically is a gift that we have been given. This takes time to practice and learn, but it is possible and it is freeing!
We can benefit from feeling emotions even though the process is not fun or enjoyable. When we acknowledge and feel emotions and do not stuff them we are able to better function in life and relationships. We can breathe better, our sleep is better, our mood improves, digestion is better, and you may even be motivated to work out!
Clients of mine often ask: How do I do this if I have never been a person to show emotions? You start slow. Start with acknowledging them to yourself. You could write in a journal, make a list, meditate, pray, or even just pay attention to them in your head. If you are able to do this and you are becoming comfortable and accepting that you are human and therefore emotional, maybe consider talking to a trusted person if you feel you need guidance or a release.