I recall a childhood memory when I was around five or six years old.
I was upset and started crying.
My Dad responded by taking me into the bathroom, telling me to stop crying and then had me to look in the mirror while I cried.
Surprisingly, this approach made me stop crying.
Reflecting on it now, it seems like an unusual approach.
Looking back, I find it rather humorous and an interesting way to stop my tears.
While I’m not someone who typically suppresses emotions, there have been moments when I’ve done so.
We all experience discomfort in our lives, and when we’re uncomfortable, our usual instinct is to seek relief, isn’t it?
We humans have a range of emotions available to us including experience happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, and grief.
Some of us carry stories from our past where we were discouraged from expressing emotions and were even shamed if we did so.
It’s not uncommon to hear phrases like “quit being a baby” or “stop crying” from a parent when we were upset.
However, attempting to suppress emotions can often leave us feeling stuck, and cause sickness in the body.
Psychology Today says that “When you are focused on numbing your feelings rather than processing them and using healthy coping strategies, you prevent yourself from living a full and meaningful life.”
Numbing our feelings can lead to addiction, whether it’s to food, alcohol, shopping, gambling, or gaming, among other things.
The key to moving past our emotions is to allow ourselves to feel them.
The more we shove emotions down, the more they tend to resurface.
To truly experience an emotion, we need to connect with what’s happening in our bodies.
For instance, when sadness strikes and theirs an urge to cry, it’s essential to honor that feeling and allow the tears to flow.
Do you Hold Back Tears?
Bottling up emotions often stems from the fear of appearing weak and being subjected to shame.
Some individuals have experienced the loss of loved ones and carry a deep sense of grief, yet they hold back tears.
While this might be a way to escape discomfort, the practice of suppressing emotions can take a toll on both our well-being, and manifest into conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression.
Part of self-care involves giving ourselves permission to process our emotions, a skill that requires practice.
A good way to feel and process emotions without judgment, is to practice mindfulness and consider incorporating meditation.
Find a quiet space, take deep breaths, and scan the body for physical sensations related to the emotion.
Label the emotion, and accept it as a natural part of the experience.
Regularly practicing mindfulness or meditation, helps us become more skilled at handling our emotions in the moment.
Recognizing our emotions without judgment is a crucial step toward a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Permitting ourselves to genuinely feel and process our emotions, is a crucial aspect of fostering our own emotional well-being.
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