It's Okay to Feel
Do you ever feel controlled by sensations of anxiety or depression? Are there times when you are so overwhelmed by your emotions, you just want to be heard and feel understood? Have you ever tried to express these emotions to others and have just been shut down with responses like, “Oh stop. You are worrying for nothing”, “Stop thinking so negatively”, “No one cares. Everyone gets nervous about something”, “You’re just being pessimistic”? Hearing responses like this can make a person feel so alone; they can make a person be sorry for feeling the way that they do. These responses cause people to shut themselves off from ever sharing their emotions again, because they fear being judged or labeled as ungrateful, negative, or dramatic.
My response to this is to never let someone make you feel as if your emotions are invalid. Expressing emotion is essential for self growth, making positive life changes, and acknowledging the things we need and desire in life. If you feel a certain way, stop for a moment. Think about what you feel, why you feel this way, and if there is anything you can do to change a negative feeling, or to maintain a positive one. Sometimes it can be helpful to keep an Emotion’s Journal, or a Self-Thought Diary. Being more aware of how you feel, when you feel it, and why you feel it can help with self control, self understanding, and allows you to better understand the feelings and actions of others.
One way an Emotion’s Journal may be set up is as follows: every time you feel or think of a negative, self-deprecating emotion or thought, write it down. Write down why you feel this way and write down a positive emotion that you wish to feel instead. Try your best to come up with three ways that will allow you to convert this negative feeling into one that is constructive, joyous, and self-loving. Now the next time you feel this negative emotion, you will be more effective at eliminating this feeling and replacing it with one that is more rewarding. You will train yourself on how to quickly escape these somber emotions and be able to live in a more positive light.
On a similar note, I think it is important to acknowledge when feelings of anxiety or depression have led to self-destruction, self-doubt, or a decline in our quality of life; there comes a point when we realize we need to reach out and seek help. It's important to see that seeking help may not always mean going to the people we think will understand us. As mentioned before, sometimes expressing these feelings to people we are close with just ends up making us retreat from others even more. Telling someone who is depressed to “cheer up”, or that “there is no reason to be sad”, is not the best advice for someone to give in this situation. Sometimes we need to reach out to more experienced people, people who are more knowledgeable in dealing with mental health issues. Getting help doesn’t mean we are weak, or incapable of handling things on our own. In fact, it signifies the opposite. It shows strength in that it demonstrates the ability to face things head-on instead of running away from the problem. It shows our desire for self growth and self-love. Getting help isn't something we should be ashamed of, but rather it should be looked at as a new start for positive life change.
Self expression and self understanding is imperative for an individual to live a life in which they are content with themselves. The next time you feel a certain way, don’t run away from it. Don’t bury it inside until you can no longer hold it in; and certainly don't let anyone make you feel sorry for feeling the way that you do. Instead, think about your emotions and how it affects your thoughts and behavior. If you notice these feelings have done nothing but left you with detrimental life effects, don't be afraid to reach out. You are not alone in feeling what you do. Talking to others who will actually understand what you're going through may be the solution. We are all human and we all need help with one thing or another. Don't fight your emotions, feel them.