Ever had a feeling and then thought to yourself, “I’m stupid for feeling this way.”? And then have you tried to stop the feeling, and restrict your emotions? Well, those emotions are like people in chains. And the ones holding the chains are the voices inside you who are saying, “You’re so stupid for feeling that way!”
Thoughts like: “I can’t believe I’m so upset.” “I can’t get this angry!” “Damn it, I need to tough it out, not get so down about everything…” – these come from restricting your emotions.
“But… but I can’t just let my emotions run wild!” you might say. Yeah, part of me thinks the same way. I think – well, if I just let loose, well, who knows what could happen? I might get out of control – I might go in a direction in life I don’t want to. I might do stupid things, I might get egotistical. Better to shut my self down, right?
Well, I think there’s another way. Do I know what it is yet? I have theories, but… no, I don’t know.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you restrict your emotions, each emotion is coming from a part of yourself who you are devaluing. You think – “if they are acting that way, they must not be worthy of my attention.” But you know what, they are. Who says one part of you has the right to treat other parts of you in such a way?
Or do you really want to drag yourself, kicking and screaming, to every goal in life? The part of you kicking and screaming might have something important to say about it all.
One way this manifests in life is through abuse. A community who looks down on people who feel a certain way. Judgementalism mixed with anger can create a deadly combo. Not to mention more subtle forms of control. Putting you down, passive-aggressive anger – it’s like a poison spewed by other people, trying to pin you down and clip your wings. Trying to tell you what you need to have in your heart. But just remember – if you fall prey to this, the problem isn’t in the other person, it’s in how you treat yourself and how you act, given the fact that others treat you that way. I think there’s a much more loving way to do that than many of us are used to.
One thing you can try is to act like your emotion is a person, and patiently ask it what it wants, or why it feels as it does. Not because they annoy you, not out of obligation, but because you genuinely care. And even if you don’t care, try it. Listening might be exactly what you need to start feeling healthy and whole again.
Article on “What is Real Emotion?” by Mark Ivar Myhre