Why it is important to express emotions rather than repress!
When we were just babies we learnt to express emotions according to those who were around us. So what we saw, heard and perceived influenced our behaviour immensely. As we made our first smile, said our first word, took our first steps, our parents and peers were there applauding, rewarding, and congratulating our ‘success’. Have you ever considered though that what we may have been applauded for as children are now the stem of some of our current health problems?
When we love someone, all we want in the world is for them to be happy. So when a baby smiles (an action attributed to happiness) we applaud them because we think they are learning how to be happy. This is not a bad thing in itself yet if we are applauded only when we smile or laugh and are scolded when we are sad or angry we are subconsciously being told that happiness is good, and that expressing emotions such as anger and sadness are bad. So as we grow older, whenever we feel down we think “s#*t! I don’t want to get in trouble, I have to be happy”. We try to avoid other emotions at any cost and so we grab for the closest things to happiness we can find – potato chips, computer gadgets, sex etc…
But we need to remember that we are not anger, we are not sadness. We do not become these emotions but rather experience these emotions. If we do not allow these emotions to pass through us, if we deny how we are feeling in any given moment then that emotional energy has to be stored somewhere. So our left hip tightens up, or our waistline expands, or our skin breaks out etc. To deny the expression of our emotions poses some serious health threats.
It is imperative for our health that we allow ourselves to feel and express emotions. Repression of emotion leads to energy blocks in the body which causes dis-ease. Yes! Sometimes we need to express emotions such as sadness and anger. We need to feel them, let them flow through us so we can let go of them. It is OK to say that we are not OK sometimes. Sometimes just the simple act of stating this can help us to flow and let go. Sometimes channeling that energy into yoga or dance shifts its energy into something more positive as we are allowing it to flow through us.
When we start to allow these emotions to be expressed either verbally, physically or creatively then these emotions can be begin to transform into more positive emotions. There are even studies (see David R. Hawkins) that suggest different emotions create different energies in our bodies. Some emotions strengthen our bodies whereas some are more detrimental to our health.
We want to recreate those experiences in which we were applauded as children. Why wouldn’t we? Triumphant moments boost the ego and make for fantastic memories. However when we are feeling sad or angry it is not good or bad, it just is. It’s part of our journey as humans. If we think of our lives as photos, can we allow the photo of the present moment to be unfiltered. Can we resist the temptation to photoshop out our less desirable emotions and just accept them as part of our journey?