Emotions are basic human things. They influence our decisions and shape the relationship we have with others and the world. For a long time, emotions were considered to solely be physical reactions however, it has been found that emotions are social. It tends to be evoked by others.
Despite emotions being a normal reaction to everyday happenings in life, it is often considered unacceptable and inappropriate. Display of emotions, though normal, is considered immature in social situations. This causes individuals to be hesitant in showing emotions. Additionally, in some situations the confusion of whether or not the situation requires a display of emotion might create a hesitation in showing emotions.
Where some find it hard to show emotions due to being uncertain that the situation warrants an emotional response, some people are unable to express their emotions due to their past experiences, including experiences they have had during their childhood. A person who has been subjected to abuse or neglect during childhood may become closed off in showing emotions and find it difficult to show what they are feeling when they are required to. They might not be aware of how to respond to or accept others’ emotions. Additionally, if we have received some form of negative or undesirable consequences as a result of showing emotions, it would increase our tendency to hide our emotions. When this habit of hiding continues for a long time, it becomes a part of us, making it harder to break out of the pattern and show our emotions. Eventually, emotions may become uncomfortable, and it becomes difficult to show emotions even when the situation requires it, and such a response is encouraged.
In some cases, people become unaware of their own emotions. They do not realise or even understand which emotion they are experiencing. Some individuals, due to not being aware of their own emotions, tend to project it onto others by saying that the person opposite to them is experiencing the emotion rather than themselves.
Furthermore, some emotions are more widely frowned upon than others. Displays of emotions such as sadness are often considered to be a sign of weakness. We can notice this existing in subtle as well as not-so-subtle forms when people say ‘men don’t cry’ or similar things along with judging individuals when they display it. This may create a narrative inside our minds which ultimately causes ourselves to restrict our emotions due to self-criticism, even viewing emotions as being unnecessary. We tend to call ourselves out for having genuine reactions and bash ourselves for showing emotions even in situations which call for it.
Due to all of the aforementioned reasons, individuals often find it easy to suppress their emotions. But such acts of holding in or suppressing one’s emotions comes at a cost. Suppression of emotions can affect our physical and psychological health drastically. Thus, it is important to ensure that emotions are expressed and not held in.
Ensure that you have a kind voice in yourself that soothes and calms you when needed.
Stop the self-critical part of your mind from making you feel guilty of experiencing emotions.
Try to understand what emotions you are feeling by analysing it. Writing it down on a paper, describing the feeling and why you are feeling it may be of help.
Though emotions may be uncomfortable and scary, they are essential for well-being. Try to ride through and feel the emotions without stopping it.
Start with a small emotion which may not be of high significance. Do not overwhelm yourself.
Ask for help from people you trust. Having someone support you while you try something new or unfamiliar can be comforting.
Emotions are a part of human life. Experiencing emotions is normal and healthy. When you feel sad, crying helps reduce the pent up energy and reduce the stress. So instead of working on developing the ability to hold in your emotions, embrace them.
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