ALL human beings repress emotions.
And, we all suffer as a result of it.
In fact, I’ll go even further:
Repressed emotions are responsible for MOST of the
suffering you experience. Doing something to UNrepress
theseemotions can, in fact…
…totally change your life.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
++ Reactivity (where you’re suddenly pissed off by something,
your blood pressure spikes, your body is flooded with
harmful hormones and neurochemicals that leave you feeling terrible for hours)…
++ Anxious feelings (again, changing your blood chemistry and ruining your mood and your day)…
++ Depression and sadness (ditto)…
++ Stress (and all kinds of stress-related physical problems, many of which are deadly)…
++ Judgmental feelings (causing you to be at odds with other people)…
++ Hopelessness, negative emotions, and a lack of purpose…
++ Feeling tired all the time (it takes a lot of energy to repress emotions–energy you could use for something much more beneficial)…
++ And, actually, a lot more.
You say you don’t have any repressed emotions?
Bet you do. Anyway,.First, let me explain WHY everyone represses plenty of emotions.
When you’re growing up, your parents (and the other adults in your life) have their own ideas about what’s right, wrong, acceptable, unacceptable, good, evil…and so forth.
When you express a feeling, or act in a way that isn’t on the “approved list”…
…these adults give you some sort of “negative reinforcement” in order to teach you NOT to feel, do, or be whatever they think isn’t okay.
For your own good.
Some of this negative reinforcement is mild, while some of it could be quite intense. And much of it is well intentioned.
Also keep in mind while all of this is happening you’re a small, dependent, powerless little person.
You have to comply.
You quickly learn that you have to disown or repress certain normal human feelings and responses.
For instance, you might feel angry because you didn’t get something you needed or wanted, but to your parents that anger is WRONG.
(Or selfishness, pride, noise, sexiness, affection, shyness, aggressiveness, confidence, fear, etc, etc.)
So, you learn to repress your anger. This doesn’t get rid of it, though, it just transforms it into what many call “a shadow”.
If anger (or one of hundreds of other things) is a shadow, you will:
1) Become triggered whenever you encounter anger in others–the angers of others–well, angers you.
2) You’ll behave in an angry way (sometimes a “passive aggressive” way) A LOT, but you won’t recognize it (though everyone else will see it).
3) You’ll suffer many of the things I listed at the top of this email.
We could go into this in much more detail, but the point is that this repression is a huge source of suffering. Huge.
Many things that aren’t working in your life are connected to this problem.
Let me make one more distinction, and then I want to give you an elegant solution to this problem.
These supposedly “bad” qualities that we’re taught to repress? If we DON’T repress them, or if we UNrepress them later in life…
…they mature into something wonderful.
In fact they mature into the very qualities we’ve always admired in others and wished we had.
For instance, selfishness–if left alone when we’re small, instead of being repressed–matures (quite naturally) into positive self-regard, and then into self-love, and then into…
…genuine love and compassion for others.
If it’s repressed, though, this doesn’t happen!
I could also show you how anger–or any other supposedly negative quality–matures, if it isn’t repressed (or if it’s UNrepressed)–into a quality…
…you really want.
So, I hope I convinced you that 1) this is a universal human problem, and 2) it would be a fantastic idea if you could do something about it.
Bill Harris Centerpoint Research Institute