top of page

Expressing your emotions without being emotional

What's the most drastic consequence of poor emotional health?

Is it poor relationships?

Is it not being able to live in the moment?

Or is it not enjoying the beautiful things in life?


In my humble but vulgar opinion, it's not getting laid.

What's the relationship between emotional health and sex? I'll save this for another article, but let me give a teaser.


Emotionally healthy dudes are attractive.

They may not be physically sexy or have the largest bank accounts. Still, these emotionally healthy dudes are mature. They know what they want and respect themselves and women.


Because of all that and more, women find themselves comfortable around these men. In addition to a great dating life, these guys also have solid friends, boundaries, and an appreciation of life.


But let's not get too icky here.

As you can see, emotional health has many benefits. Yet, there are many misconceptions about emotions.


The one with the most confusion is how to express them. People tend to avoid emotions. They feel uncomfortable and prefer to suppress them instead of dealing with them.


But that's the problem.

You can express your emotions and not be emotional. Yet, these two are mixed with each other all the time. In this article, I'm going to clarify this misconception.


I will show you how to express your emotions without being emotional. But before that, let's determine the difference between the two.


Emotional

This is where you allow your emotions to get the best of you. You say and do emotionally charged things with little reason.


You might know people like this.

When they get angry, they turn into a little demon without regard for the consequences. Or when they get sad, they turn into a depressed individual, making no effort to help themselves.


Being emotional is being a slave to your emotions.

Unlike healthy emotional expression. Where you allow yourself to feel and express your emotions reasonably.


Meaning...

Expressing anger without being damaging.

Expressing sadness without being debilitated.

Expressing disappointment without being hurtful.


These are the main differences between being emotional and expressing emotions well. But how can we start practising the latter?


Well, there are four steps I got from the book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most:

  1. Remember that your emotions are necessary, so get them out.

  2. Share the full spectrum of feelings.

  3. Sharing feelings without evaluating them.

  4. Say, 'I feel...'

Step One

One of the lies we tell ourselves about our emotions is that they are unimportant. This is a form of self-betrayal.


At the end of the day, all you have is you. And if you can't respect your emotions, nobody else will.


In developing self-respect, one must understand that emotions are essential to life. You need to allow yourself room to express them. Otherwise, each time you don't, you strengthen your self-betrayal.


Emotions are part of life.

It's part of human beings; you cannot deny their expression. Otherwise, the only person you will be hurting is yourself.


This hurt will be in the form of you feeling numb to life or having personal crises.


As Dr. Lowen wrote in Fear of Life:

"...suppressing a feeling doesn't make it go away; it only pushes it deeper into the unconscious. By this action we internalize the problem."


So, make it a habit to express your emotions. You can do this through journalling, talking to a friend, seeing a therapist, etc.. Find what works for you and make it a lifelong habit.


So, when expressing your emotions to someone, you can do it reasonably.

Step Two

Now, at this point, you're wondering how much of your feelings you should share.


All of them!

At the end of the day, we have to be true to ourselves. As Polonius said to his son in the Shakespeare play:


"This above all: to thine ownself be true, 

And it must follow, as the night the day, 

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!"


You will naturally be honest with others if you are honest with yourself and your emotions. So, have no shame in expressing the full range of emotions.


Now, what do I mean by full range?

Let me give you an example. When a family member hurt me, I shared my feelings of disappointment, anger, and anxiety with them. There were a lot of emotions there, but I wanted to show how their actions elicited different emotions in me. And that I could not stand their behaviour any longer. I wasn't being emotional but expressing my feelings.


I could only do this because I was honest with myself first and understood my emotions. This way, I was able to express these emotions to them. 


If people don't know your emotions, they will never truly understand the effect they had. If they do not respect your feelings, that tells you all you need to learn about the relationship.


For some, step two might seem daunting, and they might wonder if they need to censor some of the emotions they share. This brings us to step three.


Step Three

When you share your feelings, do not evaluate them. You need to express all your emotions; otherwise, you are holding back.


Every time you hold back is a form of self-betrayal. Your psyche remembers each time you cowardly walked away from difficult situations. And each time you caved in, your mind built a track record of cowardice.


But this doesn't mean you are a coward. Each moment brings a moment to dispel your track record. So, if you want to be someone with an emotionally healthy life with people who love you. It starts with you being able to share all your emotions.


Otherwise, if you hold back, people will never truly understand the effects they are having on you.


But to be sure you are being reasonable in sharing your feelings, you must follow step four.


Step Four

Whenever you share your feelings, say, 'I feel...'


This will ensure you are not being accusatory. You can describe what the other person did and then follow up with, 'I feel.'


It won't be easy for the other person to hear, but they cannot accuse you of being accusatory.


Expressing your emotions to others, especially in difficult conversations, is challenging. But this is a part of being an emotionally healthy and mature adult.


Yet, some will think expressing emotions will make things worse.


Life will be littered with difficult situations.

By shying away, we will make ourselves inexperienced in dealing with them. Then, when we need that experience, we will not have the capabilities to handle it.


When you want to tell someone you love them, you can't.

When you want to tell someone they crossed a line, you can't.

When you want to tell someone you're there for them, you can't.

If you talk to enough people, you will see they have regrets over current or past relationships. All because they didn't express their emotions. And they must live with that regret for the rest of their lives.


And I've had my share of regrets. 

But there was one time before therapy I did not regret.


Quitting a toxic job

When I was 26 and fresh out of school, I worked for a small startup. The founders were new to the business but cocky.


I moved to Toronto with one of the founders to expand the business. And this founder, whom we'll call Ahmed, was a partier-type fellow. He felt things would figure themselves out.


Either way, he had me doing humiliating work. I was wearing a backpack billboard and going around the city with it.


Initially, I didn't mind it, but he had me always doing this—roaming around the city with a silly billboard week after week. It was getting to the point where I was dreading work.


Deep down, I felt I betrayed myself and couldn't figure out why. Then, as I started reflecting, I realized I had never addressed this issue with Ahmed. And I couldn't expect him to guess my emotions. 


So I told him I did not want to keep doing it anymore, and he told me something I will never forget.


He said: 

"I am paying you $40,000 to do crappy work!"


There was no empathy, no understanding. 

Just someone flexing their power. Once I saw this behaviour, I informed him I no longer wanted to be part of this company.


I did not yell at him or curse at him. 

I told him how I felt about being a walking billboard. He did not take my emotions seriously, so I flew home the next day.

When I landed in my hometown, Ahmed texted me asking where I was.


Clueless

Either way, I felt proud of myself for handling this difficult situation well. This was the rare time in my pre-therapy life when I dealt with a problem well.


And even in that situation, I avoided this common mistake of trying to improve the situation.


Sometimes, we try to ease the uncomfortable situation. But as Difficult Conversations stated, your only responsibility is to do your best.


That's it.

You don't have to improve the situation. It's not fair for that responsibility to fall on you. It takes all parties to make the situation better.


You can only focus on what is under your control, which is not being rude, emotional, or a jerk.


Again, do your best. 

And my best will be to get to the summary.


Summary

  • Being emotional means being a slave to your emotions.

  • Expressing your emotions well includes feeling and communicating them.

  • Step One: Remember your emotions are necessary, so get them out.

  • Step Two: Share the full spectrum of feelings.

  • Step Three: Sharing feelings without evaluating them.

  • Step Four: Say, 'I feel...' when expressing your emotions to others.

  • It might seem like expressing your emotions will make the situation worse. However, this is not the case. The more you express your feelings well, the better you can handle emotionally heavy situations.

  • Focus on what is under your control. It is not your responsibility to make the situation better.

Emotions cannot be ignored when it comes to personal development. 

I only touched the surface of this topic, but I touched on an important one.


We have to be willing to share our emotions and not be emotional. 

It will take practice and time, but we have to commit. Over time, we'll start becoming mature, emotionally healthy individuals.


Which will make life a beautiful spectacle. 

And it doesn't hurt that we'll be getting laid too.


Until next time,


Bulcha

The Charismatic Nerd

コメント


bottom of page