Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Your Feelings
How Bottling Up Your Emotions Harms You And Others
American writer Mark Twain once said that “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Although not psychologists, many of us can attest to that feeling and feel that by keeping our emotions and thoughts to ourselves, we damage our psyche in the process.
We don’t advocate lashing out in anger or fits of jealousy, but there are entirely normal and productive ways in which even the most complicated and conflicted feelings can be communicated or expressed.
In The Context of a Relationship
Whether it’s a romantic, familial, or a relationship between friends, there are fundamental truths and principles to all of them, one of which is that conflicts are inevitable.
However, instead of us being scared of disagreements, we must patiently discuss them in a way in which both parties can talk and see where they diverge.
It can be hard to face something uncomfortable about your partner or point out something you dislike about a friend’s behavior, especially if these people are very close to you.
But the alternative is to hide the little arguments, to let slip the minor disagreements until no one can start any conversation because that would inevitably unearth all these hidden criticisms.
In fact, this is the blueprint for a divorce, as people don’t want to ruin the image of their perfect love and either swallow their critiques, convince themselves that’s not really a problem in the other person, but themselves, or even worse – get gaslit into thinking it’s their fault for finding faults in their partner.
Usually, this pattern of avoidance, or on the other extreme – overly confrontational behavior, results in the mentality that it’s easier just to hide all these complicated, built-up feelings and pour them somewhere else.
Some of you may be familiar with the ancient Greeks’ school of thought, in which keeping your thoughts to yourself and taking on life’s hardships with an unchanging stone face is venerated.
In all fairness, stoicism, or at least this interpretation of it, is quite popular in the modern conception of how a “man” is supposed to behave.
While the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is commonly connected to this problem, I prefer faux stoicism, as real stoicism consists of being a rock for your friends and family, taking even the worst of news with an unrelenting smile and embodying humbleness, instead of the “macho” perception of unfeeling human robots.
In this way, the same principles the Greeks laid out can be turned around from something that inevitably emotionally stuns people and often isolates them too, into a mindset that doesn’t limit but builds up traits like patience and humbleness.
At The End
While there is a time and place for everything, it is important to know that your feelings matter. They might seem ethereal, as opposed to the material, physical world, but the very reason you, the human being, are affected by them means they’re just as tangible as a salary or a papercut.
Keeping your emotions and thoughts bottled up will only lead to festering, such as when an act of annoyance leads to resentment, envy, or hatred, an offense leads to depression, self-loathing, and feelings of worthlessness. We have close ones for a reason, and their friendship means nothing if they can’t be there to hear you out.
If you don’t feel like anyone cares to listen, art was invented to let out the indescribable things we feel – some of the greatest songs, paintings, sculptures, movies, and books were just another way for their authors to let go of those feelings in a beautiful way.
So hey! If something’s bugging you from the inside, find a way to express it!