We live in a world that teaches us to be strong at all costs. Being strong is often defined as not showing your feelings and acting as if there is no personal emotion that can bring you to your knees. That’s not the reality though.
Emotions are a crucial part of life that can either cure you or destroy you, depending on how you treat them and how much you acknowledge them. Emotions are meant to be felt and expressed.
The reality for many, though, is that to be able to ‘stay strong’, we often decide to repress our feelings and act strong and resolute.
Being strong isn’t possessing the ability to suppress our emotions. On the contrary, it’s the ability to show our feelings and face them as they come. Experiencing your feelings and expressing them out loud is necessary for you to grow stronger.
Repressing your feelings comes with a particular set of behavior that will eventually burn you out, and these are the 10 most common things people usually do when they are repressing their feelings.
1. You take care of everyone else
Facing your own feelings can be daunting. Taking care of anybody else is much easier, as the objective approach towards them is much more simple than the subjective reality that you may be facing.
This is why you may decide to set your focus on others’ emotional crises, help them face their struggles and give them useful pieces of advice.
It makes you feel as if you have your own feelings under control and settled, when it fact the distraction is the only thing that gives you that kind of reality – only for short. This state helps you to avoid your own inner conflicts, but never settle them.
2. You stay busy – all the time
When it comes to distractions, another great way to forget what’s happening inside you is to constantly stay busy. With so much to do, there is no possible way of your emotions to come to the surface and remind you that there’s a bigger battle you need to fight.
The reality is that it’s much easier to occupy yourself with lots of work and obligations than to face your inner emotional struggles.
However, this is not something that will absolve your feelings. Take a time off, and they will come popping out like mushrooms after rain.
3. You disappear from people’s lives for long periods of time
There are those people that are able to evoke emotions that you don’t feel capable of handling. The best solution? You run away from them – for a longer period of time. Running away from these people means running away from the emotions they evoke in you.
Once you have buried that emotion deep inside you and once you make sure that it won’t resurface, you are ready to come back. This gives you the illusion that you faced that emotion, and the person in question learns not to evoke it again – because you’d disappear again, wouldn’t you?
4. You constantly claim that you are fine
Reminding people that you are fine is a way to convince yourself that you are fine. Are you really ‘fine’? Does feeling ‘fine’ means feeling numb and dead inside with an undercurrent of buzzing anxiety waiting to burst out when it finds a thinner layer?
No matter how often you try to remind yourself and others that you are fine, the reality cannot be changed that simply. To be fine, you need to sit down with someone very close to you or just with yourself and work things out.
5. You tend to develop irrational anxieties
Not acknowledging your feelings doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. They will come out when they find a weak spot and they will come out distorted and will look irrational. They will come out in the form of an irrational anxiety.
This kind of anxiety will target your perception and you will start thinking of and seeing things that are farfetched.
You may think that someone wants to betray your trust, by ‘noticing the details’ that aren’t there. Other times, you may think you have developed some kind of serious disease.
Don’t worry – there’s nothing like that – it’s just your emotions that you’ve been beating down in the dirt.
You don’t want your close ones to notice that you are still shaken down by some recent negative event. That’s why you would rather open up a discussion related to that event and tell them of all the awesome realizations you’ve had from that experience.
By convincing them that you have gained all the best from those situations, you are convincing yourself the same thing too.
And if you achieve to trick yourself into it, you’ll never have to confront how you are really feeling. There goes another feeling into the ‘pending’ box.
7. You plan everything ahead of time
You find greatest comfort in situations where you can predict how you’re going to feel. That’s why you tend to plan everything you need to go through ahead of time. You would rather organize a ‘spontaneous’ event, than really experience it spontaneously.
Genuine spontaneity comes with surprise feelings. And even though not all of them are going to be something you need to face (they can be very pleasant too), you wouldn’t leave it to chance for those negative ones to pop out of nowhere.
8. You would rather avoid dating the ‘right’ person for you
When you find yourself becoming emotionally intimate with someone, you would rather stop that relationship. Emotional intimacy comes with you becoming aware of your feelings, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
You can prove you’re not falling apart – you turn your pain into everyone’s amusement. Adding this humoristic touch to it makes it feel not serious at all. That’s how you trick yourself and the others into believing that nothing serious is happening to you.
The reality is different, but who cares about that, right? Well you should.
10. You look as tough as nails
That’s at least your exterior, and you do everything in your power to keep it that way. The thing is that there’s no person who is unemotional – neither are you.
Though exteriors are usually key indicators that the person behind is packed with suppressed feelings.
Nurturing this kind of behavior is nurturing a ticking time bomb. If you are experiencing this, you should definitely start treating yourself better.
If you don’t, you will eventually burn yourself out and you will experience all those suppressed emotions at the same time.
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