Why is it then so common for normal people to struggle with emotional expression in life? Many had the upbringing that downplayed emotions, or taught them that certain emotions are ‘bad’. Saying this, it is not unusual that emotional expression can easily seem like a minefield.
If we don’t have enough names for our emotions, it’s hard to get a handle on what we’re feeling when an emotion arises. Describing our emotions allows us to understand the meaning of our emotional state, ourselves and the world around us. In addition, our life becomes so much more exciting when we can feel Delighted, Curious and Desirable, rather than just "Fine" all of the time.
Emotional shutdown is an extreme level state in life of emotions. It comes with a high cost. One has to pretend to self and others that nothing can be felt. Or that one feels something different from what he or she really feels. It is possible to reach a stage where one is no longer sure what he or she really feels. This constant pretending and denial of ones' own feelings leads to a lack of authenticity. It feels as if nobody knows the real ‘you’. That is a very lonely stage which can leave one completely flat.
There is a positive side to not being too emotional. One tends to stay calm when people around are getting upset or angry or frightened. Such a person is great to have around in a crisis, when people's emotional reactions make it hard for them to think clearly about what to do.
The capacity to recognize our feelings correctly provides us with the ability to choose a suitable behavior. It means that our awareness of the emotion increases our coping ability.
All emotions, positive and the negative ones, are a valuable, essential dimension of being human, and they bring a real richness and meaning to life. The more we enrich our vocabulary, the more we can be aware what is happening within us. We get motivated to let others understand how we really feel and this way enable their response to our needs.
At the point where you recognize the desire to have more from life, you will start searching for the way out of living the life of flattened emotions. On your way to rediscovery of your own feelings, noticing, recognizing your emotions and translating them to the corresponding response, showing what you feel in the appropriate ways you will notice that life all of the sudden gets a lot more colorful and interesting. And we all can learn to express emotion freely and appropriately to the situation.
Being connected to our emotions allows us to be moved by an act of generosity or kindness, a beautiful piece of music, and to feel deeply connected to people we love.
When we can express negative emotions in full intensity and someone responds to us with empathy and care, we may feel comforted and we can calm down. Expressing our emotions shows trust, strengthens relationships, and promotes a sense of empathy, care and intimacy. The more we share the more we receive in return. People may open up and explain the way they felt in a similar situation that we are today, which may lead us to see how common our reaction may be, and therefore may widen our self-insight and self-acceptance.
When you open yourself to experience and express some positive emotions like enthusiasm, humor, joy, love, awe, etc, you also become more appealing and attractive to other people. The more you train recognition of your feelings, the faster you will become in taking effective emotional actions.
Everybody experiences negative emotions like anger or jealousy or boredom as well. There is nothing bad about these feelings, in themselves. They are just your response to certain situations. When you can handle them appropriately, and acknowledge them in constructive ways, your life becomes rounder, fuller, more mature. Your self-respect and self-understanding grow.
Many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel irritable, frustrated, exhausted, or anxious. The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.
Ideally, we should all look for balance in sharing our emotions with people, especially with those who do not care about us and have no interest in helping or fulfilling our needs. It is always crucial to consider the context and the people who are present before we express our emotions.
Further, looking for moments of positive emotions throughout our day, may really make a big difference in your life. It should be like searching for the precious stones. Picking one by one, and saving them in our memory, remembering those precious points at the end of the day, makes your day look brighter, richer, and definitely worth living. With each day lived this way, we become more conscious of the moments and people that we appreciate, and it makes us want to recreate those moments more often. Yes, you are able to help them happen! Give it a try.
Do you wonder how flat emotional expression looks like?
Find the emotions that you have experienced during the day.