How many times have you been told, “Stop acting like a baby,” “Don’t be such a wuss,” or, “You need anger management”? I think it is so embedded in our culture. But, to be told not to be [insert negative emotion], is not helpful. So, why is it that we promote the idea that we must hide certain feelings? When someone does express these feelings, why is it that we then, as a society, look at the said person as weak and feeble? This idea that we should never show negative feelings or emotions is not only bizarre, but also inhumane. If we weren’t supposed to experience these feelings, why on earth are we able to?
This pressure leads to the concealment of emotions, hiding the way we really feel, and ultimately lying. I, for one, can unfortunately say that I have been told many times that I have to act tougher and stop acting like a girl. And why is it that we equate the expression of sad emotions with not only being weak, but being feminine? It’s a fact that we all experience emotions, so why is it only okay for girls to express them?
No matter the gender you identify with, or lack of a gender identification, experiencing your feelings is in no shape or form a negative thing. It can, in fact, be very helpful compared to the alternatives, such as suppressing them or using bad habits to cope. Suppressing only leads to a shaken bottle effect. You may think you can handle it, but everyone has their limits. And who really wants to explode in a fit of rage, overcome with emotions you no longer even know how to handle because you’ve never been allowed to?
The answer is a lot simpler than what you’re probably expecting. Simply allow yourself to actually experience these feelings. When you feel sad, go to a comfortable space and allow yourself to truly be immersed in the feeling. Don’t run from it. Now, this isn’t to say that if you are angry go out on a rampage. It means sitting with that anger or whatever the feeling may be. It’s better than pushing the feeling down.
We shouldn’t be ashamed to have moments where we are sad, angry, embarrassed, or lonely. Sitting with these feelings can then lead to an understanding of how you got to that point, which can ultimately lead to an understanding of how you react to not only situations to come, but also the people around you. Trust me, once I started doing this, I felt much better. Sometimes in today’s perfection obsessed society we might forget that it is okay to not be perfect, or fit into the societal norms. No one deserves to be forced to conceal their true feelings just because society says it makes us weak. The only thing we become when we fully experience our emotions is human.