The Value of Expressing Emotions

I’ve seen many clients who learned at a young age to repress their emotions because it didn’t feel safe to express them growing up. The downside to this is that stuffed emotional energy can get trapped in the body/mind system and can have a “pressure-cooker” effect, resulting in depression, anxiety or even aches and pains in the body. Typically, it is these same emotions that get triggered as adults, causing disharmony in relationships. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, because if you begin to think of your emotional triggers as a huge, neon sign with a blinking red finger that points directly to your learned and outdated thoughts, feelings and beliefs from your past that no longer serve you and are ready to be released, it can be the beginning of a cleansing and freeing experience. Your body/mind system then becomes a clear vessel for the brilliance of your soul-self to shine through, and you’ll find life to be a more joyful experience.

I recently came across a passage by Neile Donald Walsch in his Conversations With God book series that discusses the danger of repressing emotions, and the benefits of expressing them. Please enjoy his words:

”Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross maintains that the basis of all our emotions stem from the “five natural emotions”: Grief, anger, envy, fear and love. (At a still deeper level, grief, anger and envy are based out of fear, thus leaving fear and love as the great polarity. Ultimately, all of our feelings, thoughts, choices and actions are sponsored by, and based in, love or fear.)

Unfortunately, we have imprisoned our five natural emotions, repressing them and turning them into very unnatural emotions which, in turn, bring us much unhappiness. The model of behavior for centuries on this planet has been: do not indulge your emotions. If you’re feeling grief, get over it; if you’re feeling angry, stuff it; if you’re feeling envious, be ashamed of it; if you’re feeling fear, rise above it; if you’re feeling love, control it, limit it, wait with it, run from it – do whatever you have to do to stop from expressing it, full out, right here, right now.

It is time to set ourselves free. We have been living too long in a prison of our own devise. It is time to set ourselves, our Holy Selves, free.

Grief is a natural emotion. It’s that part of you which allows you to say goodbye when you don’t want to say goodbye; to express – push out, propel – the sadness within you at the experience of any kind of loss. It could be the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a contact lens.

When you are allowed to express your grief, you get rid of it. Children who are allowed to be sad when they are sad feel very healthy about sadness when they are adults, and therefore usually move through their sadness very quickly.

Children who are told, “There, there, don’t cry,” have a hard time crying as adults. After all, they’ve been told all their life not to do that. So they repress their grief. Grief that is continually repressed becomes chronic depression, a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of chronic depression. Wars have started, nations have fallen.

Anger is a natural emotion. It is the tool you have which allows you to say, “No, thank you.” It does not have to be abusive, and it never has to be damaging to another. When children are allowed to express their anger, they bring a very healthy attitude about it to their adult years, and therefore usually move through their anger very quickly.

Children who are made to feel that their anger is not okay – that it is wrong to express it, and in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it – will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their anger as adults. Anger that is continually repressed becomes rage, a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of rage. Wars have started, nations have fallen.

Envy is a natural emotion. It is the emotion that makes a five-year-old wish he could reach the doorknob the way his sister can – or ride that bike. Envy is the natural emotion that makes you want to do it again, to try harder, to continue striving until you succeed. It is very healthy to be envious, very natural. When children are allowed to express their envy, they bring a very healthy attitude about it to their adult years, and therefore usually move through their envy very quickly.

Children who are made to feel that envy is not okay – that it is wrong to express it, and in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it – will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their envy as adults. Envy that is continually repressed becomes jealousy, a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of jealousy. Wars have started, nations have fallen.

Fear is a natural emotion. All babies are born with only two fears: the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned responses, brought to the child by its environment, taught to the child by its parents. The purpose of natural fear is to build in a bit of caution. Caution is a tool that helps keep the body alive. It is an outgrowth of love. Love of Self.

Children who are made to feel that fear is not okay – that it is wrong to express it, and in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it – will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with their fear as adults. Fear that is continually repressed becomes panic, a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of panic. Wars have started, nations have fallen.

Love is a natural emotion. When it is allowed to be expressed and received by a child, normally and naturally, without limitation or condition, inhibition or embarrassment, it does not require anything more. For the joy of love expressed and received in this way is sufficient unto itself. Yet love which has been conditioned, limited, warped by rules and regulations, rituals and restrictions, controlled, manipulated, and withheld, becomes unnatural.

Children who are made to feel that their natural love is not okay – that it is wrong to express it, and in fact, that they shouldn’t even experience it – will have a difficult time appropriately dealing with love as adults. Love that is continually repressed becomes possessiveness, a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of possessiveness. Wars have started, nations have fallen.

And so it is that the natural emotions, when repressed, produce unnatural reactions and responses. And most natural emotions are repressed in most people. Yet these are our friends. These are our gifts. These are our divine tools, with which to craft our experience. We are given these tools at birth. They are to help us negotiate life.

We have been living too long in a prison of our own devise. It is time to set ourselves, our Holy Selves, free!”

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