All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and all happy and no sad, makes any human …. well, non-human. Emotions range from being happy to sad, being angry to excited; but why are we comfortable only displaying few of them? Why do we laugh openly and cry discreetly? Why are afraid of anger and why do we shy away from sadness?
It’s not because we are built that way, it’s because we are taught to. A child knows nothing of these learnings and hence displays all emotions equally. But an adult has learnt over the years that one should always “be happy”. Because only being “happy” makes you a positive person. But do you know, a person who is sad may also be a very “positive” person? A positive person also goes through sadness, fear and anger. And going through these emotions doesn’t take away from them the positivity they possess.
And of course, there is then the stereotype of “men don’t cry”, or rather “real men don’t cry”. Who said so? A man and woman are both humans and are capable of feeling the exact same emotions. But why is it okay for a woman to let those tears go while a man has to hold them back? Have you also heard of the stereotype – man can’t handle their emotions? Well, maybe because the former stereotype isn’t letting them. Only when one can express, they can overcome.
Psychologists believe that curbing emotions can actually worsen them. When you are not in touch with your emotions, you are unaware of how strong they are. Expression of emotions leads to better handling as it helps you gain clarity of your own emotions. Like they say, you have to face your fear to get over it; similarly, you have to face your sadness to get over it. Hiding it only sends it away for a while, doesn’t help overcome it.
Moreover, the lack of expression leads to denial. People aren’t able to come to terms with a situation only because they haven’t even identified their feelings or let themselves be aware of how they really feel about it. Letting go of emotions is the first step to acceptance of a situation. And culturally, we need to let this happen. We need to encourage children to be vocal about their expressions, lend an ear to friends/family and also promote therapy where people are truly free to express.
If emotions are a part of humans, they exist for a reason. It’s your body’s way of dealing with happy or sad situations. By avoiding them, you are running away from your body’s defense. You are only making it harder for yourself to face reality. Because reality is being happy, sad, angry, excited or depressed. Reality is certainly not being “happy” all the time. And if someone were to convince you to believe that, walk straight in the opposite direction.
The above blog is based on the following article: