suppressing emotions

suppressing emotions

Maya Zohar, Staff Writer

It is a known fact that the experiences we have during our lives, whether beautiful or not, change us. Sometimes they make us better and create a sense of self-actualization. Other times people take a turn for the worse and become miserable. What’s not commonly talked about is suppressing those negative emotions. Instead of letting them take their part, people bottle them all up. Though they may seem fine on the surface, and as an outsider, it looks as if there is nothing wrong with them, work is going good, family is all intact; they aren’t happy, but in fact, numb. They have shut themselves off from any type of pain. Some of you are probably reading this and thinking that it sounds incredible. It’s not. If anything, it is one of the worst things that a person can do to their mental and physical health. 


Pain and what people often call “trauma” are not all bad. We as humans need to experience hurt and disappointment to grow. Unfortunately, it’s never easy. Sometimes the damage isn’t bad and can be managed, such as a high school breakup or a failing grade. Other times the trauma is so intense that it could make angels cry. The only problem is that people are too afraid to feel the pain, so they shut down. Some resort to drugs as an escape, and others use distractions such as work or friends to keep them from facing their demons. 


Without darkness, the light would never be recognized. Life would have no meaning if things were always good, with no pain, grief, loss, and disappointments. We need to embrace our suffering to feel joy and how precious it truly is. True, everyone’s lives are different, and we all go through our own unique situations, but one thing we all have in common is our potential for growth and self-understanding. The memoir Tuesdays with Morrie about a man who is slowly dying from ALS and telling his old student about what he learned during his life provides a true insight into emotions and how detrimental it is to hold them back. For instance, when he said, “If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain; you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.” Morrie explains that at the end of the day, death is inevitable, but fear is not. People don’t want to let themselves mourn because of how weak they will feel, so they choose to fear it instead. 


If you are reading this right now and are going through what feels like rock bottom, the best thing for you to do is embrace it. Let yourself cry or scream; whatever it is you need to do, don’t hold back. Feel the hurt with all its glory…but then let it go. Don’t stay in that dark place; learn from it and make the pain all worth it. Now a lot of you are probably thinking, “easier said than done,” but it is a lot easier than it seems. The biggest issue is that people tend to look to their past or future, looking for the happiness they so desperately want to feel again, but that is wrong. Instead, take a look around you, find happiness right now, do something today, even something small that will make you feel good and make you go to sleep knowing that you made the absolute best of your day, and even if it all ends tomorrow…it was worth it. That is the key to happiness, pain, growth, and peace.