Friday, September 30, 2011

"Unexpressed Emotions Will Come Forth Later In Uglier Ways."

        Now I may not agree with Freud about everything, but he was spot on about that one. I am sure you have experience with feeling an emotion of some kind that you didn't want to be feeling or felt like you shouldn't be feeling, repressing it, repeating that process a few times, and then finally blowing up or bursting into tears.
First of all, there is no such thing as things you "shouldn't" be feeling. The things you feel are the things you feel and the best way to deal with them is to accept them at face value, rather than pretend they don't exist. Next time you catch yourself beating yourself up for holding an opinion or emotion, ask yourself whose standards you are judging yourself by. Chances are, you won't be able to think of any. We live in a society where strong emotions tend to be frowned upon, so people end up acting as if things don't bother them. This is not the only option you have for dealing with an emotion. No, I'm not saying whenever someone pisses you off you should yell at them, or that your road rage has always been justified. I'm saying you should confront your emotions instead of letting them control you(whether directly, or indirectly.)

Here are some alternatives to blowing up or bottling up:
  •  Write in a journal about it. You'll be amazed at how well this works.
  •  Take a walk, or run if that's your thing. Stretching helps too.
  •  Talk to a friend or significant other... but be conscious of the way you do this. No one wants to listen to someone bitch to them and then turn down every suggestion they give them to try to improve the situation. Ask yourself, do you want to fix your issue, or just complain? If I find that I'm just looking to complain, that's when I choose to reason through it alone or write it out rather than verbalize it to another.

On that note, try not to vent your complaints all over a public internet space. I know that posting a negative status update and letting everyone know how pissed you are feels like you're letting some of your stress out, but in actuality you're just spreading bullshit all over anyone who happens to be your friend on that site.
      Websites like Facebook, Twitter, or yes, Blogger, are a responsibility. You are writing things that will be seen my multiple pairs of eyes. What kind of message do you want to send to the world? Whatever I spend my time online doing, I end up spending at least some time later on in the day thinking about the things I saw or read. This includes everyone's little one sentence status updates on Facebook, and the last thing I want invading my conscious mind is how angry you are you broke your phone, or that so and so talked shit about you to so and so. Even the smallest interaction (or status update, tweet, or blog) has a ripple effect on those around you; be conscious of this.

Here's another great tip: When it doubt, WAIT! Curious about whether you should buy that new expensive item but unsure about whether it's the right choice? Wait. Want to send an e-mail expressing discontent over someone wronging you? Wait. Wanna flip off the car behind you? Wait. If it's that important, it can wait a couple minutes. Take some breaths. Yeah, that's cliche advice but it's cliche for a reason; it works.

They say that stress is a sign that something needs to be dealt with. In my experience, this is nearly always true. This could refer to either a concrete situation or your mental disposition about the situation. The trouble that a lot of people(myself included) have is that they stress over things regardless of whether they can be changed or not. This is not practical and is yet another thing that can only be fixed by staying conscious and aware of what goes on inside your head.

To use a metaphor, thoughts are seeds that will harvest a tree bearing fruit the flavor of the seeds you plant. Chopping down a tree that bears sour or rotten fruit will take much more time and energy than simply planting productive seeds in the first place.
When in stressful situations it really helps to think about how short your life is. I am 22 and though that is young, a third (or fourth) of my life is already over! When I reach middle age, what sort of youth do I want to be able to reflect back on? One spent yelling at cars in traffic, spreading negativity all over the internet, and talking down to myself? Definitely not.

"Fill your head with what's important and forget the rest."


  1. It has taken me a long time to realize that my own attitude from things that were angering and upsetting me was making others miserable. I don't remember where I heard it but I love the phrase "hurting people hurt people". It's so true. We can look to friends for advice and insight if needed, but just complaining or being negative to let off steam isn't fair to the listeners. Getting out the anger can be a personal thing, and probably always should be.

    Is that your art, Ellie? It's quite fantastic.

  2. That's so true. If you're happy, you have no reason to try to bring people down. And yes it is, thank you! :)