The Taboo of Emotion

Welcome to another Thursday,

Easily one of my favorite days of the week, especially as only Fridays are left before the weekend, and Fridays always seem spectacularly quick.

Anyway, right to it.

Something I’ve seen ever since I was a very young child, because of the openness the parents that I have, is that the world is uncomfortable with emotion. It’s quite huge actually, and for many of us, this kind of discomfort sticks with us all through our lives.

Childhood has been recognized as a vital time that, for many things, sets the tone for the rest of one’s life. Think about it, that’s the time when we are taught to see the world in terms of good and bad, and in quick succession, taught to distinguish everything into those two categories. Why? Because our parents learned the same, and so did their parents, and their’s, and their’s too. So in essence, most of the views of the parent are inherited by the kids, particularly if they’re not taught to question everything. That’s called Received Wisdom.

That’s just an example; in reality, there are dozens upon dozens of things that are affected at a young age. And one of those things is how to deal with emotion.

Here’s how I see it: when someone cries, they’re often told ‘don’t cry’, or ‘crying will get you nowhere’. Now, although that principle is true at some level (crying won’t usually help one find a job, or meet new people, for example), it completely disregards and degrades the value of releasing the emotions instead of bottling them up inside. Because, as I’ve learned, once I have cried, I get a peaceful feeling, and I’m not so brimming with my emotions that I’m able to think more clearly. It’s also been proven to be healthy, a way of letting go of pain.

Straßenschild Anger

Anger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another huge example: anger is (in the U.S. at least) always considered ‘bad’. People have learned to look at anger as a sort of evilness that must never be released or shown. It is true that anger has led some of the worst things in history to happen, but it’s not the anger that’s harmful, it how one uses the the pent up frustration, that can be damaging to others/themselves. In fact this leads me to my next point – that coming to terms with one’s self is the key to acceptance in general.

I think that by accepting that everyone gets angry sometimes, even yourself, instead of staying in a state of denial, you move into a new level of confidence. Once you’re there, you’re less likely to burst out because of anger welling up inside you and overcoming you. And there are ways (again, frowned upon, because they’re misunderstood), to harmlessly deal with anger in a way that leaves you feeling like you’re not trapped by your emotions (which is what the system currently in place does not address at all), and in a way that does not damage others. You are more easily able to access kindness and deal with issues in such a better way.

But I’m not here to teach you, or anyone, how to deal with anger. I talk about it to make my point – that by hiding away from feelings, we never get the chance to understand them, accept them, and become better people. Our emotions are part of our identity. Without understanding them, you can’t completely understand yourself. And emotions are everywhere, no matter how much they’re suppressed. They’re what fuel body language, and what makes words more than just something you read.

Another reason why emotions have been addressed in the way they have is because they’re hard to manage. If one is in touch with their feelings, they’re in touch with the world, and have a greater level of awareness about things in general, particularly the things that are, say, full of injustice. That’s not what the enforcers of the world want, because then all the corruption and malfunctions of the world are more obviously spotted and thus more strongly apposed. In essence, without emotion, one is never truly awake to the world and aware and present in this dance we call life.

Don’t hide your emotions, they make you who you are.



18 thoughts on “The Taboo of Emotion

  1. Pingback: Block one emotion and the rest suffer « Mirrors of Encounters

  2. Hi there! Thanks for visiting my blog; I’m so glad you found something you liked. It’s wonderful to discover a young, articulate voice such as yourself. This post, the part about anger in particular, brought to mind a great lecture I heard recently that deepens the discussion about how our emotions can serve us. It comes from a really great secular Buddhist organization in New York called The Interdependence Project. I couldn’t find a link to that specific lecture on their website, but it’s available if you subscribe to the podcast, and many of their other lectures are posted on the site as one-off listens. I totally recommend checking it out; the discussions they are having dovetail really well with the kinds of questions you are asking here.

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