Feel Good About Your Feelings
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2000
Some people have difficulty understanding or dealing with their feelings. Some have penned up their feelings so long that they no longer have feelings. Others have had no one to discuss their feelings with or they have been taught to keep quiet about their feelings out of fear. There are others feel guilt over some feelings. Some people have all or many of these problems. Difficulty handling feelings causes emotional distress. Bottled-up feelings can cause a combination of these problems: tenseness, stress, anger, depression, physical and mental breakdown, or suicide unless there is a healthy release. Allowing yourself to have feelings, understanding them, and healthfully dealing with them, puts you in control of you, helps you to have good mental and physical health, and helps you to help others to do the same with their feelings. This causes better relationships between those in your life and you.
Even though you think you may know someone well and you feel that they view life the same way as you do, it does not mean that an event was viewed the same way as you. This means that the feelings brought on by an event may be completely different that the feelings you assigned to it. There is a whole range of feelings one may assign an event. One may be afraid, shocked, sad, depressed, numb, unfeeling or unchanged, perturbed, angry, enraged, pleased or happy. Sometimes, one can feel several of these feelings at once. Other times we may believe that we should not have such feelings, because of the values of our parent's, our culture, or ourselves. Our feelings which get bottle up will eventually come back to haunt us or to explode with seemingly little provocation or no reason at all. Some would have us believe that feelings, like anger should not be felt at all, because that would mean that we have lost control. Feeling anger is normal and natural. We all feel anger some time. How we act upon those feelings is control or the loss of it. Since we continually have feelings and sometimes have irrational beliefs that are not true about feelings, it is no wonder that we do not or cannot understand all our feelings or the feelings of others.
Feelings, no matter what they are, can be expressed positively or negatively. Getting them out in the open and examine them, first by ourselves and then with the help of others, is a positive move. You may need the help of a mental health professional to understand and/or deal with some repressed or bottled-up feelings.
When feelings are stuffed, they are generally covered up by something. Some people choose to do this by using poor coping tools such eating food, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, gambling, fighting, shopping, reading, sleeping, working, and hiding away from others. Anything, even inherently good things, done to an excess, can turn into an addiction and be a negative way to deal with our feelings. The best way is to face them and deal with them.