I haven’t always been emotionally open as a person. Repressed emotions have been somewhat of a currency for me throughout the years. It has taken a long time to even see this in myself, let alone address it in any way.
I can see this now as an element of the control that I have sought to bring order to my life. At the time it felt fine, part of my personality even. This of course led to the inevitable, being perceived as cold, or emotionally switched off - which I never loved - but frankly was true.
It wasn’t all elegant swan-like-repression though. One of the ways this emotional repression would flare up was reacting with a stronger negative emotion in order to hide my insecurities. I spent a lot of my time feeling angry with the world, instead of stopping to actually feel my feelings.
I would suppress my own emotions, and also try to do that to people around me, as their emotions made my own more obvious to me. Telling others not to cry, to not give in to their feelings. This was a coping mechanism of sorts - but not a healthy one for me, or for those around me that it affected.
The last year has seen a real shift in this for me. For the first time in my life, I’m feeling all my feelings, expressing them, and sharing emotional vulnerability with others. Very simply being aware of how I feel, not being cowed by fear or insecurity and expressing that with vulnerability and emotional intelligence has lifted a weight from my shoulders.
This is very new, scary, and not a natural process for me. However, it has been a necessary one, a task I wish I had started earlier. There have been conversations I should have had years ago, thoughts shared, feelings expressed, all leading to less conflict and much more happiness.
It is never healthy to dwell on the past, and so the perfect time to start anything is always right now. Feelings don’t make things easier, in fact, they can make it harder to process, and cause you to struggle a little bit more. However, being emotionally open allows you to work through your feelings, have a frame of reference to cope, and allows others to use empathy to help you too.
Emotional openness is not the only way to improve the things going on around you - but it certainly leaves you in the best place to cope, process, and handle what life inevitably tries to throw at us over the course of our lives. So feel your feelings, they will serve you well!
Shot by Ruth Pechey