Very commonly, people hold back from expressing their inner most, deepest feelings because people in your lives do not understand fully how you feel. Yes, only you hold truth to your challenges and the emotions associated with your struggles, but withdrawing from others and ‘keeping your feelings trapped in a jar’ is not the best strategy.
Imagine a jar filled with cookies. Each cookie represents an emotion that has been confined and stuck in the jar; tightly shut so no one can eat that cookie. Bottling up your emotions and suppressing your emotions can lead to physiological and behavioral symptoms such as: irritability, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and body aches. Locking your emotions of sadness, anger, and resentment may be a useful coping strategy at the time, but the jar can only fill so much before it overflows. Very often, an overflow of emotions is the result of unresolved conflicts/situations and can only be tightly shut in a jar for so long. Eventually you will have to deal with the cookies. How do you openly express yourself when you have been comfortable with keeping things bottled up?
Understand your emotions: You must be self-aware with understanding exactly what is causing you to feel a certain way. You cannot expect someone to understand you if you do not understand the feelings that surround those problems. Try identifying your emotions and sitting with the experience of that emotion. Often times, if you do not tag a name to the emotion you are experiencing; you might think you feel angry when you are really feeling sad or unwanted. Remember your feelings are never right or wrong; they are happening within you and need to be felt. It is human to feel and you are allowed to embrace these emotions for what they are.
Find a safe environment: Expressing your emotions can be a frightening experience because you don’t know if you will feel accepted. Seek people who are supportive and will provide a comforting place for you to express your needs openly with no judgment. Share with those who make you feel loved, secure, and respected. Talking about the situation/problem in advance with someone before confronting the person will help with identifying triggers and will help you stay calm during the process.
Be a neutral observer: You will never find people who agree with your opinions fully. People come from all different walks of life and hold strong belief systems based on their worldview. When faced with a difference of opinion, view the situation as a way to learn more from the other person. Ask open-ended questions to draw more information out of the person to gain better insight of their perceptions.
Focus: Individual Issues, Domestic Violence Recovery, Self-Esteem, Anger & Aggression