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In expressing our emotions we reveal who and what we really are. How often do we stifle a tear because we are “weak if we cry”? Society does not always make space for emotion. We are conditioned to believe that we must uphold a strong character, hide our emotions, or push our feelings under the rug just to survive. We are told not to be angry, not to be sad, and even sometimes not to be happy - just in case it all comes crashing down.
Who are we as human beings if we do not experience ourselves as complete? In that wholeness there is powerful anger, deep sadness and effervescent joy. Ironically, in actually feeling all of our emotions we not only survive, we thrive.
How different would our lives be if we allowed ourselves to experience our emotions fully? Do we hold back because society and our peers regard emotion as taboo?
Much of the taboo stems from what we perceive as negative emotion. Yet, it is only negative if we attach judgment to it. For what are emotions but pure, simple expression? How great does it feel, how great is that sense of release. As children we expressed all the time, without the constraints society puts on us. We went around all day long singing, shouting, crying and laughing before we got “adjusted,” to the correct way of being.
In expressing emotion there is the potential for pain. However, it is often through the pain that we grow (think of a child’s growing pains, or birth). Allowing ourselves to experience pain we can in effect liberate ourselves from the hold that fear had over us. The fear that was keeping us from being whole and complete.
By allowing ourselves to sit inside that emotion when it arrives, we create awareness around it. When you feel the salty taste of your tears, begin by asking yourself where they come from. When memories come up allow the emotion simply just to be what it is, memories. By expressing ourselves through emotion we allow it, hence the relief felt afterwards.
The irony is that we think if we do not express it, it does not exist. However, if the emotion remains unexpressed, we carry it around with us and it will color our lives. When we are unaware of its effect, we are consequently shut off to the idea of feeling it in the first place. When aware of these feelings we begin to realize its influences on our behavior, our opportunities and environments, and how we interact with those around us.
If you feel pent up you could try venting. Venting is simply another term for letting go. For example, having a primal scream from the bottom of your gut. The release of emotion is incredible and often leaves you with a wry smile and a sense of child-like freedom.
When sadness comes up, let your tears run free, releasing those trapped feelings. You will feel expressed and as you drain the well of sadness, you may find the hidden treasure. Embodying the experience is in itself liberating.
How often do you laugh? How often, as adults, do we allow ourselves belly aching laughter? The kind that fills our hearts with delight and sets our eyes ablaze with vibrant life. Remember what makes you laugh, create it and give yourself the gift of feeling emotion.
Open your soul like a child, let yourself be free to experience emotions as they come. Stifle nothing and embrace all. The wisdom that comes with incorporating a variety of feelings aids us to grow whole. The deeper we feel our sorrow, the more genuine our joy. Emotions define us in every way.
Restraining ourselves from sensibilities is like cutting off a part of our being; we limit our observation and therefore limit the life that we are in. It's time to stop letting society or 'emotional' stigmas dictate how much we emote. Simply allowing ourselves to feel in the moment and embracing whatever emotions occur gives us absolute freedom to interact with all of life’s beauty.