In the name of happiness, lies a lie that is sold to the world that weakens society every day at every level, and that’s toxic happiness. No one is immune to emotions. No guru, meditation expert, or happiness coach can maintain constant happiness and positivity.
This is a human impossibility. As humans, we are entitled to experience the entire spectrum of emotions – happiness, sadness, joy, anger, guilt, resentment, jealousy, and many more. There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling these emotions. The issue arises when we become slaves of our own emotions.
Yes, happiness is important. It is essential for our health and longevity. But not all the time. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel human emotions so long as we do not become slaves to them.
Emotions act as messengers, conveying our inner states. Emotional well-being involves learning how to navigate through these emotions via action. For example, consider boredom. You can either remain trapped in boredom or take action to address it.
The Impact of Suppressing Emotions
When we suppress our emotions, we inadvertently unleash a host of negative consequences upon ourselves. These consequences extend far beyond the surface level of momentary discomfort.
Here are some of the profound impacts of emotional suppression:
Elevated stress levels: Chronic emotional suppression leads to elevated stress levels, which can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health.
Prolonged sympathetic nervous system activation: Suppressing emotions can lead to prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system, contributing to accelerated aging, inflammation, and delayed healing.
Disconnection with our authentic self: Emotionally suppressing our true feelings disconnects us from our authentic selves, making it difficult to express who we truly are.
Bitterness: Unresolved emotions can fester over time, leading to bitterness that taints our outlook on life.
Persistent negativity: Suppressing negative emotions can paradoxically lead to a persistent negative mindset.
Relationship Issues: Emotional suppression can strain relationships, as unexpressed emotions can create distance and misunderstandings.
Toxic behaviour: Unresolved emotions can manifest as toxic behaviours that harm both ourselves and those around us.
Emotional exhaustion: Continuously suppressing emotions is emotionally exhausting and can lead to burnout.
Various physical ailments: Even science proves that prolonged emotional suppression has been linked to a range of physical ailments, from skin conditions like acne to more severe health issues like cancers. And we see this in so many of our cancer patients. Of course, cancer is multifactorial, but releasing suppressed emotions is everything.
“Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe”, according to research by Dr. Michael Barry.
What does this tell you? Release resentment, anger, and guilt. It could be the only thing that is holding you back from feeling better.
How to Avoid Suppressing Your Emotions
It is crucial to avoid falling into the trap of emotional suppression.
Here are some practical steps to help you navigate your emotions more healthily:
Acknowledge your feelings: The sooner we recognize our feelings and emotions, the easier it is to process and move beyond them.
Refrain from labelling your feelings: Avoid judgment and self-criticism by simply accepting your emotions as they are and taking appropriate action.
Create a safe space for emotional expression: Find or create a safe space where you can express your emotions without fear of judgment. It could be a person a piece of paper or a heartfelt cry.
Cultivate mindfulness: Practice mindfulness to gain clarity on your emotions and become aware of when you are suppressing them.
Develop a sense of purpose: Find something in your life that gives you a sense of purpose and self-worth, helping you to navigate emotions with greater resilience.
Yes, it is challenging. But challenging does not mean impossible. Many consider themselves free, yet they are confined by their fears and self-imposed limitations. On the other side of fear lies peace and freedom – not the peace that people think weekend binge drinking or partying gets, but genuine peace.
In a world where people often wear cheerful masks while grappling with inner pain, choose to be authentic. Remind yourselves daily that because there is sadness, we know what joy and happiness feel like. Because there is darkness, we appreciate the light. Bitterness makes sweetness beautiful. Without pain, we do not understand pleasure.
Keep it real, and be a human.