Do you struggle to let go of things that hurt you? Try crying! Crying is nature’s inner cleansing process. Tears are literally the way in which we cathart our sorrow and emotional pain. If we do not shed our tears, we do not release our emotional responses to the things that hurt us. We become psychically congested.
Some think that time is a great healer; it is, but healing takes longer and unexpressed emotion has a horrible habit of re-appearing in inappropriate ways. It spills out into personal and professional relationships. It is projected onto those we love. It colours the way in which we interpret the emotional world about us. It dictates our reactions to other intervening events, which might be nothing to do with who or what hurt our feelings in the first place.
People become conditioned out of showing emotional responses. The trouble is that when we don’t fully express emotion, we become stressed or depressed. Unexpressed emotion can cause somatic symptoms and target certain organs.
For many years, I worked as a doctor of psychotherapy, specializing in helping others to ‘get in touch with their emotions’ and stop treating them with disrespect. One of the main reasons that relationships fail is because people do not know how to manage their emotional responses well. It is one of the areas of personal development that is not taught in schools or in most homes. People are afraid to feel anger or sorrow or loss or jealousy or envy or any of those things that, traditionally, we have been taught to bury, be ashamed of, despise and mistrust. Emotions are often viewed by so called ‘logical’ types as inferior responses, not logical, irrational, or other such patronizing descriptions. Those viewing emotions in such a light are often, in themselves, detached from emotion and undeveloped as people in this area.
The fact is that emotions, when experienced fully and explored, lead to deepening our human experience, developing great and vibrant relationships from which all other things flow, like self-confidence, as well as inspiring creativity and new discovery.
I have been wondering for a long time (ever since starting the Plum Tree blog), whether I should dedicate a corner of it to writing on the subject (as I write books on the subject) and doing a few case studies on how to manage our emotions. What do you think?
When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down.
One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.”
Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!”
I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I?
I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.”
Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray.
With love from Dr. Niamh,
Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com