Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Well hello there, been a HOT minute since this little old blog has had a post. With everything going on, many (including myself) are on quite the emotional roller coaster it seems. But what do you do when the feels hit hard? What do you do when you are someone (like me) who does NOT express emotion well?
If you know me, I tend to joke that my favorite color is black like my soul. Okay so that might be a bit drastic. Any shade of green is actually my favorite color DUH. In all reality what I mean when I make this joke, is that I feel as though I have this empty hole where emotions are sucked away and never found.
I am the queen of doing, thinking, or saying any of the following:
Nothing is wrong.
No I am not upset.
Suck it up.
You're weak if you let people see you struggle.
Essentially I am really good at suppressing things that I don't think are valid for me to showcase to those around me. Ironically enough there are plenty of people just like me. Plenty of people where the slightest form of emotion isn't "normal" makes us cringe / feel uncomfortable.
What I have learned lately, and hope to share is that my defense mechanism in all this has done more harm than good. (Think about when people finally pop after bottling up one thing after another- even if that one original thing was something trivial. “Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body. The effect is the same, even if the core emotion differs,” says provisional clinical psychologist Victoria Tarratt. “We know that it can affect blood pressure, memory and self-esteem.” Most of us are taught to not feel, yet more and more research shows that taking that action can actually do more damage to us. Think about how that carries over into your life. Sleep becomes disrupted, health risk increase, relationships with loved ones can be impacted negatively as well. But when this is all you know, when this is all you're accustomed to...what do you do? Let's be honest as well, all of a sudden letting your emotions shine probably creates some sort of anxiety.
Given that suppressing your emotions can spiral into other more serious matters I want to share ways that you can learn to let yourself feel. Ways that you can no longer feel weak for being in tune with what you are feeling.
Ways to deal with emotions positively (even when they don't feel good)
Acknowledge the dang thing: This one might be "common sense". However, you need to be able to be like YEP I see you showing up right now. Dig deeper too, and ask yourself what is causing me to feel this way. Find the CORE cause.
Be okay with confrontation: I don't mean go deck your friend for whatever she said, but be okay with saying you need to talk. Let people know if what they said came across a different way to you. Honestly, communication is something we all need to work on.
Self care is your friend: If ever there was a time to show us that we all probably work too much, and put ourselves on the back burner...now is it. Self care is whatever feels good to you. Maybe it's a massage, reading, a walk, yoga, journaling...You need to allow yourself time to regroup / decompress.
Stop feeling guilty: This one will take far more mindfulness and inner work. As humans though, we have to stop trying to please others. We have to stop feeling guilty in thinking that how we feel will cause others to be upset. Sorry that's the real world, it might happen. Just because someone might not agree with why you feel like you do doesn't mean you are wrong for it.
While I am by no means a doctor, implementing some of these habits has really allowed me to stay grounded. It has allowed me to work through quite a few blocks I have had in my own life. More importantly though it has allowed my stress, sleep, recovery, and hormones a way to balance out. It's okay right now to not be okay. It's okay right now to not feel 100%. It's NOT okay to feel as though you need to be forcing a smile on your face.