I have a tendency to suppress my emotions. I rarely cry in the face of tear-inducing phenomena. I never get angry enough to to do something horrible or frustrated enough to stand up for a cause. I attribute my seemingly still emotional life to my unending compassion and critical thinking skills but something tells me anxiety has a hand in all this.
As a kid, specifically a third grader in Brooklyn, I remember crying almost everyday at the hands of a Mrs. Burnett. Mrs. Burnett, while often Teacher’s Pet-ing me with White Castle “meals” and school play roles, was a cold, cold woman. I mean, that’s how I’m remembering her. I can’t generate a memory in which she is smiling genuinely at me. Once, she told me to spell out B E C A U S E in my notebook…
b e c a s
b a c u z e
b a c a u s
When I couldn’t spell it correctly, she sent me back to my seat repeatedly, in front of other students, until I got it right. I actually remember never getting it right and having to ask a classmate.I think I cried all day that day.
I don’t mean to be self-pitying. I was told I was “overly sensitive.” I hate that phrase…”over sensitive.” How can a child be over however sensitive they’re biology and psychological development have made them? Anyway, I was indeed an emotional kid. That’s what makes this suppression thing ironic and a little sad. I even studied theater in college. I think I’m a good actress. This is also ironic.
It’s possible that these minor traumas of mine are responsible for my current reluctance to feel. I was advised back then to toughen up and I have. The stage was where I released and the world had no problem with me standing behind the curtain as long as there wasn’t a show going on. However, the suppression, the damning of perfectly reasonable and sometimes tumultuous emotion puts heavy strain on my heart and sanity. I can feel it building up in my chest and I decided that I REALLY didn’t care for that feeling.
Fast forward to last week. I was feeling particularly anxious, as I often do, and I looked up some articles on at home remedies for quelling anxiety. I came across a great (probably stock) article of which I can’t remember the name. The author advised it’s readers to, rather than fighting back emotions, allow them to come. I, the anxious person, ought to acknowledge and accept painful emotions, that they may pass through me.
So I tried it. Instead of telling my feeling to go away, I told it to come closer.
When it came closer and I felt it fully, I realized my idea of the feeling was much worse than how it actually felt. It came and it went. When it didn’t destroy me, I could accept it as an extension of my Self. I became a prouder, more relaxed version of me.
Give it a shot.