People have described me as bubbly, funny, sarcastic, a great listener – all positive qualities in my mind.
But that doesn’t mean that I never feel stressed, sad, angry, panicked, or anxious. I just hide these feelings exceptionally well, or so I’m told. What others don’t know is that there are times when the emotions surface and my calm exterior is overtaken by the jumbled mix of emotions I feel inside.
Welcome to the world of bottled up emotions.
Over time I’ve come to learn that bottling up is not always emotionally healthy. I’m in a constant battle with myself to improve on my openness. I try because I know it’s important and freeing.
Recently, I have been weighing the pros and cons of allowing myself to let go of my bottled up emotions. Here’s the list of reasons I came up with:
Release of Internal Tension
It’s important to express all emotions, especially negative ones, in appropriate ways. If you have been holding in feelings of anger, try to relieve them in an assertive yet calm manner. If that’s not an option, working toward forgiveness may be key. Research indicates that the act of forgiving can release feelings of anger, resentment, hostility and sadness, which brings about a variety of mental health benefits.
Develop Deeper Connections With Others
Opening up to others occurs most naturally between people who have developed a strong relationship and who feel safe talking to each other. Talking to other people about the things that upset us the most can help us learn how to better express our emotions. We gain insight into how our life experiences affect us and how we can work together to put difficult experiences behind us.
My Emotions Are Not A Sign of Weakness
Most of the time, I can justify my desire to hold things in. I tell myself that eventually, I’ll get over my feelings and emotions and that everything will just go back to the way it was. It’s not that I don’t think others will understand my emotions or be able to empathize with me, because I know they will. My fear goes a bit deeper.
According to Brené Brown, Ph.D, in an interview with PsychCentral, our perception of emotional vulnerability can oftentimes be hypocritical. We like other people to be open and honest with us, yet we are often reluctant to share our own feelings in the same way. Brown emphasizes that emotional vulnerability should be seen as the core of all emotions, rather than as a sign of weakness. Emotional vulnerability connects us with others and allows us to open ourselves up to joy, creativity and empathy.