“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.”
As young babies, we communicate what we need by expressing our discomfort, crying to alert our parents that we require attention and care. As we learn to use our words, we move into vocalizing the things that upset us, readily sharing with our parents when we are upset. However, at some point during our childhood, we begin to believe that this is wrong.
We are taught that crying is a weakness, and that true strength is shown by ‘sucking it up,’ holding our heads high and powering through life. We begin to associate a loss of emotional control with feelings of guilt and shame, disappointed in ourselves for not being able to keep up appearances when in public.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how hard we try to keep our emotional pain buried it will continue to haunt us, following us throughout our lives. Not only do we now feel the initial emotional pain, but also the anger, loneliness, despair, fear, and confusion that accompany it.
Lacking the tools to deal with this pain, due to our upbringing, the basic emotional pain quickly snowballs into much more serious, deeper seeded issues in our lives.
As children, many of us grew up watching ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood’ and learning many important life lessons, one of which being the fact that we should never tell someone to just ‘cheer up.’ A lesson that is often lost as we move into our adult lives, we would be better served to watch these episodes again!
Instead, we need to learn the importance of sitting with those that we care as they feel these more difficult emotions, offering a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or whatever other support they may require to work through it.
We need to stop shaming those who feel their emotions deeply and learn how to support one another!
Image via Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor