One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that pretending that’s something didn’t affect you doesn’t actually reduce its impacts on you. It’s tempting to ignore or suppress our emotional responses, especially if we feel like we shouldn’t feel the way we do.
But ignoring our feelings doesn’t magically make them disappear. If it hurts, it hurts – even if you try to tell yourself that it doesn’t. Feelings that are left unaddressed tend to show up in other ways – through resentment, anger, passive aggressive behaviour, frustration, stress, depression, anxiety…
Being able to acknowledge that something hurt you, being able to feel that emotion, and having the skills to work through those experiences is often essential for understanding and managing your emotional landscape. Pretending that something didn’t hurt you won’t make the pain disappear.
Being curious and open to your emotions, and being willing to process them can make the pain more manageable and reduce its impacts on you. Suppressing your feelings isn’t always bad, as long as it’s temporary.
Sometimes there’s no time to focus on “feeling your feelings” – you might be in an emergency situation, you might be at work, or in another situation that does not give you time to focus on feeling you feelings right away.
However, it’s important to check in with yourself afterwards, to make time for feeling and processing your feelings at some point instead of trying to push them away permanently.
What do you think? Have you experienced something similar? How do you tend to deal with difficult emotions?