Not everyone finds it easy to talk about how they feel. If you can relate, you might find it quite uncomfortable listening to other people talk about their feelings. Maybe you wonder why they’re being so sensitive or intense, and can’t just “get on with it”. You do a good enough job at keeping them down – so why can’t they? Perhaps you’ve wondered whether you’re just “one of those people” who doesn’t have many feelings.
But the truth is: that we all have feelings. Our emotions are with us constantly. They compel us to take action, influence our choices and enable us to form meaningful connections with the people around us.
The issue is that stifling our emotions is neither natural nor healthy. It has the potential to become poisonous over time. Repressed emotions don’t just disappear. They build up quietly in the background… And soon enough, they start shouting at us – until we’re forced to take notice.
Being in touch with our emotions is important because our feelings are important indicators of what’s happening in life.
Emotions tell us exactly what we need to hear (even if sometimes it’s not what we necessarily want to hear). All our feelings are valid – and that includes the difficult ones. Listening to them – and processing them – allows us to correct our behavior and take a course of action that most benefits us.
You can think of it as putting a lid on a boiling pan… When we put the lid on our feelings, in time they’re going to boil over. If you’ve spent a lot of time trying to suppress your feelings, you might find that it feels very overwhelming when you do express them. Maybe you’re having an argument with your partner and you explode out of nowhere or you snap at your colleague for something small.
In the short term, suppressing our feelings might mean overreacting in situations. In the long-term, it can have much more serious consequences – leading to issues like depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
We require connection as human beings. We're all social creatures who require assistance. Often, simply expressing something out loud to someone else can provide a big catharsis. We aren't expected (or designed) to handle everything on our own.
We allow our feelings to govern us when we are out of touch with them. How we feel has an impact on how we act. Our emotions can end up impacting our decisions without us even recognizing them if we don't have awareness of how we're feeling. By identifying and accepting our feelings, we provide space for them to be processed so that we may move forward in the most beneficial way possible. Communication is key to any relationship, and talking about your feelings is going to make you both a better person and partner.
If you’ve been bottling up your emotions for a long time the idea of talking about them might feel scary. Many people worry that once they start, they won’t be able to stop (which is never the case). Talking about your feelings is freedom. Emotions need to be validated and processed, and you’re the only person who can start that process.
That’s not to say it’s all going to be plane-sailing – but in the long run, it’s going to feel like a massive weight you didn’t even know you were carrying has been lifted. After all, the cure for the pain is in the pain itself.