Although emotions are meant to flow, this is not something that always happens. This is not to say that one should always express how they feel; as this is not always going to be appropriate. What it will involve, is for one to accept how they feel and then to contain their emotional experience.
This means that one won’t have to repress how they feel and neither will they have to react to how they feel. It times one will feel the need to deny how they feel or to react to how they feel and this is normal, but these won’t be the only options they have.
Through having the ability to contain how they feel and to decide how they will respond to their emotions, one will be in a position where their emotions will generally be able to flow. This is not to say that they won’t be carrying any repressed emotions, what it means is that there is going to be less chance of an emotional build up in their body
And one reason why emotions are not allowed to flow is because of the labels that they’re given. This can happen in later life, but it is often something that has already taken place during ones younger years.
So by the time one is an adult, they are unable to express their full range of emotions. And therefore, one is not able to contain how they feel. Instead, one has to deny how they feel and there could be certain emotions that they rarely, if ever, experience.
Good And Bad
For instance, one could believe that anger is bad and that they are not to express their anger. This could be an outlook that one is not consciously aware of but at a deeper level, it is playing a part in how one does or doesn’t feel.
Men are often out of touch with emotions that cause them to feel vulnerable and so they might find that they repress sadness or grief. And for women it can often be the other way around.
But these are just generalisations and opposite can also be true. What it comes down to is the pressure that men often feel to look strong and invulnerable. Whereas, if a woman was seen crying it wouldn’t be a shock, it would be seen as normal.
These labels would have caused one to believe that it isn’t safe for them to show certain emotions. And when this relates to ones formative years, the need to please others is going to be vital. At this time, ones focus would have been on what they needed to do in order to survive and not on whether repressing how one felt was healthy.
While this may relate to certain emotions, it could also relate to emotions in general. One has then learnt that any form of emotional expression is to be avoided at all costs. And while this is then not healthy, it is what feels safe.
And as one doesn’t feel safe expressing certain emotions or emotions in general, it is going to play a part in their identity and how they see themselves. So as one doesn’t feel safe expressing a certain emotion or emotions in general, they will have formed a false self.
One may been known as someone who never gets angry or who is always strong. Just as one could be known as someone who is always angry or always comes across as helpless. Ultimately this is just a mask that one wears and this mask is worn because it is what feels safe.
Emotional Build Up
If one has stopped themselves from expressing their emotions, there is the chance that they will have an emotional build up. So whenever these emotions start to appear, one is likely to do something to push them down again to avoid the pain.
Consciously one might not know what is happening, but they’re going to feel compelled to do everything they can do stop themselves from having to face how they feel. If they were to face their emotions, they could end up being overwhelmed.
Out Of Mind, But Not Out Of Site
However, just because one is not aware of how they feel, it doesn’t mean that their emotions will just disappear and have no affect on their life. They will show up in others ways and one might not realise that their repressed emotions are the cause.
Repressed emotions can cause one’s mind to become obsessive and out of control; one can experience physical pain and tension; one can end up being extremely judgemental and their behaviour can be reactive and out of control, amongst other things.
On The Surface
If one was to experience obsessive thoughts or to feel a strong emotional reaction to something someone else is doing, they might not see how this relates to what is going on for them emotionally. And if one is emotionally cut off or numb, this is to be expected.
What is going on in their mind will be seen as having nothing to do with what is going on in their body and what they see as being an external problem will be seen as having nothing to do with what is going on for them emotionally.
These ‘symptoms’ can be used to bring ones attention within and to enable them to reflect on what the causes are. And at first, one’s mind may dismiss or deny the connection, but it will gradually begin to appear if one takes their time and doesn’t allow their mind to sabotage the process.
One might find that they need assistance here and if they have been out of touch with their emotions for many, many years, this is to be expected. This can be provided by a therapist, healer or some kind of coach.
Not only will they assist one in developing a relationship with their emotions, they will also give one the external support that they need in order to let go of the emotions that have built up within them.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.