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If you want to cry please go ahead. It's better than supressing those tears. I am here with you while you do that.
However, when I picked the title for this article I didn't mean quite that. What is interesting though is almost 9 out of 10 people will think being emotional equals being teary, weak, moody. Why is that though?
Cambridge dictionary says clearly:
"emotional=having and expressing strong feelings"
Why then we think being emotional is something undesirable? Well, we definitely did not think or felt that as kids, however, society conditioned us as such. Furthermore, perhaps it was still ok for girls to show emotions while not so acceptable for boys.
"Because of what seem to be biologically based differences, boys start out life more emotionally expressive than girls," writes psychologist Ronald F. Levant of Harvard Medical School.
Research tells us that infant boys are "more emotionally reactive and expressive" than infant girls, and remain so at least until they are 6 months old -- they show more joy, more anger, fussiness, and crying, make more gestural signals and "positive vocalizations" to their mothers.
I thought this piece of info can make you reflect.
Going back to emotions. Did you know that there are simple and complex emotions? There are 6 simple emotions:
sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.
The complex ones are nuances of the simple ones and more difficult to decipher. Check the wheel of emotions below and pick the predominant ones in your life currently.
Did you do that or was it a little hard? Maybe for some, it's easy but not for everyone. There are people who are lacking emotional competence.
According to Dr. Gabor Mate emotional competence requires:
- the capacity to feel our emotions
- the ability to express our emotions effectively in order to assert our needs and maintain healthy boundaries
- the facility to distinguish between reactions that are pertinent to the present situation and those that represent residue from the past (childhood needs that were unmet)
- the awareness of those genuine needs that do require satisfaction, rather than their repression for the sake of gaining the acceptance or approval of others
The third one particularly is tough to spot. Most of the time we are reacting to our partner/boss for something that happened in our childhood because they triggered a wound that we haven't yet healed.
Maybe you feel ignored by your spouse the same way you felt ignored by one of your parents. Or perhaps you feel angry towards your children the same way your father used to be angry with you.
So what can we do?
First step is to become aware of what you are feeling. When you aren't sure of your emotions check your body reactions.
Does your chest feel tight? Do you feel a "hole" in your stomach? Are your legs twitching or your temples pulsating?
The more you suppress or repress your emotions the more they will manifest in the physical body as uncomfortable symptoms. If we disregard them, soon enough they might become chronic.
Instead of perceiving your emotions as some enemies see them as protectors who are just ringing the alarm bell for you. Tell all of them "Welcome" and learn to accept them and be with them until they slowly leave.
Maybe you don't like feeling angry or sad but these emotions have their own role. Anger is one of the best protection mechanisms and it can save your life. Sadness comes when you cannot keep all that pain inside so rather than hurt your heart it manifests as tears.
Do you get how important all are to you? Next time don't disregard or try to brush them away but honor all your emotions and extend some love to yourself.
Gabor Mate, "When the body says No"