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My Passionate Message about Emotions.

"You're too emotional."

"Big boys don't cry."

"I'm not going to deal with you if you're going to cry."

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Somewhere in our youth, or maybe long ago in history, it was decided by some important people and became a social norm that displays of emotions are bad. BAD! Ya hear me? And so... we grow from innocence of childhood (in which all our feelings are unfiltered and openly expressed) into "grownups" who stifle it. And we survive and we bear pain and we bravely go through life denying much of what lies underneath. And as we do this, so comes along little tiny ramifications from that... oh, little things, like alcoholism, bitterness and anger, sarcasm, cancer, headaches, etc. etc.

This is a blog post that proposes a kinder, gentler view.

When we laugh, I mean really crack up, nobody points a finger and goes... "Oh my God, your laughter is interrupting this conversation.. stop it and pull yourself together!" Usually, we welcome such display of emotion and pause while someone collects themself from the giggles and we don't judge. Contrast that... if a friend is telling a story that has a sad part, say, they ran over a turtle in the road and killed it on their way to work... and a few tears drop... you can usually deal with that discomfort, but even so, it is LESS accepted than the laughter scenario. Too raw! We don't like to see people in pain because it affects our sense of balance.... so we tend to try to make it better. We don't want it!

Another scenario... let's say you are arguing with someone or hurt and you need to tell the other person how you feel. Crying or negative emotion is often met with rejection, judging, and refusal to face it. And so many times, people just forgo even trying to communicate, they shut down. And a vicious cycle ensues of repressing and suffering alone. Or maybe you end up on the counselor's couch or at a friend's house with a glass of wine -- a safe place to express emotion where someone will listen and care. Counselors and best friends know that tears are like laughter through a conversation, let it roll out, and sometimes it clears up one or two sentences later.

I had an intellectual debate the other night over drinks with friends. Someone said we choose our emotions... that we decide our view on something and whether to be sad or not. While it's true we can psych ourselves out to modify feelings, the truth is that they are either simple or complex physiological responses that we do NOT control. Feelings are never right or wrong, they just are.

The dictionary says this to defin EMOTION: 1.A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling []

I know many of you have a sense of who I am from my many years of blogging. I am an emotional individual who is very much in touch with the inner world. Some would describe me as "wearing my heart on my sleeve" - I'm a pretty easy read as to how I'm feeling - very open. Although sometimes I am often perceived by others as emotionally "fragile," such is not the case. Just because you freely express what's inside in all honesty does not mean you don't have control. It means you are less inhibited than others to show what is inside of you to the outside world.

I believe that relationships would be enriched by the release of feelings, more sharing, and an openness that encourages emotional display rather than concealment and control. Truth is exposed by sharing. Compassion is learned when we witness another's pain. Love should be active and rich with expression of ALL things.. the good, the bad, even the ugly. And raw, deeply-felt emotion is truly an indicator of individual or relationship wellness. It is a guiding force. We should explore our own feelings daily (meditatively) and use them to help us to making life changes when things aren't in balance.

Emotions are universal. Everybody feels. And we feel regardless of age, socioeconomics, or any demographic that separates us. Then why deny what is real? And yet our culture discourages. It seems to me it is a more difficult life experience to be "emotional" than stoic. You put yourself out there and there is less compassion and understanding than should be in the world.

But despite the harder road taken... I cannot imagine a different existence than the authentic one, the emotional one, the communicative one that has hope for human connection, compassion, and love. Honest, true, in touch. Can you imagine a world in the future if we embraced this idea wholly as a human race?

That's what I say.


Spidey said...

i believe that my marriage has endured 33 years because i never hide my feelings. if i am not happy, joe knows. not cause i am a bitch, but because i believe in being honest with my feelings.
when my kids were little, they knew when i was not happy with their behavior. most of the time all that was needed was "the look".
the only place i feel that emotions need to be kept in check is in the workplace, cause sometimes i would really love to just tell it like it is. ;)

doreenmary said...

I respect you so much, Spidey, after all the years of knowing you and weathering life stuff here on the blogs. I'm interested in things you say/believe. What you say goes far with me on this topic. You exemplify successful union with your spouse and it provides me tremendous hope that what I so passionately believe is right and worthy of teaching our kids and the world. Thank you so much for your post!

Spidey said...

thank you doreen. i am humbled by your comment.

Jilly said...

i left a comment and blogger ate it. blogger keeps eating my comments and it's pissing me off!

the long-and-the-short-of-it is i think emotions are good in moderation and sometimes it's better to just hold emotions in and save them for the car ride home or else you could end up eating your teeth.

i'm very tired my dad had heart surgery today, but i need to do something while eating before my caffeine wears off and i pass out, so here i am.


Anonymous said...

It depends if the tears are being used for blackmail theres a proverb the gist of which is nothing dries faster than a womans tears when she gets what she wants.

Spidey said...

i love your playlist!


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