Thursday, June 18, 2015

Being an expressive, emotional person

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been very in tune with my emotions. I’m a sensitive person and as such, I feel things quite deeply. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to handle the stronger emotions in a more efficient way, but there’s no doubt that my experiences have truly touched the depths of my heart and soul. I can distinctly remember being a pre-teen and putting my headphones on, only to sit in front of an open window and feel the cool breeze through the window screen. I’d close my eyes and allow myself to become lost in the music. I’d let the lyrics soak into my mind as the tempo took over my body. I recall doing this a lot when I had arguments with friends or boyfriends. There was a serenity of sorts felt within by doing this simple thing. Even today, when I think about those times, I can almost feel the air flowing through the room.
            There have been times when it was suggested that I try to suppress the things I was feeling. I have never been good at doing that nor have I ever understood why I needed to. In my experience, whenever I’ve held back, I’ve become an angry and irritable person, one whom I’m not fond of. Even when my emotions are messy or intense, it’s been necessary for me to release them however I need to. In retrospect, I think the notion of suppression may have been an attempt to consider how others were affected by my feelings. I’m not advocating that people should express themselves without any thought to how it will make those around them feel, but I don’t think it’s fair to ask a person to hold back because of what others might think. My feelings are just that; mine. And while I’m more than happy to share them, I’m not inclined to take away from them to make someone else more comfortable. I would never ask someone to hide their feelings because they made me uncomfortable. Life doesn’t always promise us comfort, but we should be allowed to express our feelings in our way (except in regards to physical harm, to others or ourselves).
            I’ve learned to embrace my emotions and other people’s as well. In fact, I believe that it is because I’m so self-aware that I’m able to empathize with other people. The only downside is that I tend to overinvest in what other people are feeling to the point that it begins to affect me. While this can be good on some levels, it isn’t always optimal for me to do that. I find it easy to be able to imagine myself in someone’s shoes and think of how I might feel in the same situation. While I won’t always be able to fully understand, just being able to try can be meaningful. I’ve gained new perspectives and attitudes due to this ability. It’s also why I chose psychology for my major in college. I enjoy being able to connect with others in such a real and raw manner.
            It isn’t always easy being able to comprehend how you’re feeling and why. I’ve found myself to be in the wrong on many occasions and I’ll admit; I’m a stubborn person. I do not like to admit when I’m incorrect, but I find it easier to recognize when I am. I can decipher the thought process that led me to that conclusion, but it still doesn’t make me right. It can also be overwhelming at times. Just because I understand my feelings so well doesn’t make them any easier to digest. I think sometimes ignorance can be a friend to us. Unfortunately, for me, I know too much about my feelings to be able to pretend that I don’t.  I’m working on trying to express these sentiments through my writing and my hope is that I am able to touch someone who is on the other side, reading along. Don’t be afraid of your emotions and let yourself feel things, even when it isn’t easy to do so. It’ll help you (hopefully) come to terms with things and perhaps learn something about yourself in the process.

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