I grew up in a household where emotions were not acceptable. There was no I love you’s or affection shown. Sadness or hurt feelings were ridiculed and made fun of. Anger was quickly dealt with.
I learned that ignoring and stuffing my emotions was much easier to deal with.
This led me to being a very emotionally stunted adult. I secretly craved a relationship where I felt safe and comfortable to be me. A relationship that included being able to openly express affection, love, and respect.
Instead I gravitated to relationships that kept me from having to deal with the fear of expressing any emotions. Relationships that looked normal on the surface, but kept me feeling cold and numb.
Relationships that validated my fear of ridicule or rejection for how I felt. Where my partner really didn’t care.
All those emotions were just sitting there bubbling under the surface just biding their time. Waiting for a chance to come out and play.
I didn’t know how to express how I felt. If I tried it came out as a bumbling, stuttering, disjointed mess. This was created by fear. Fear of rejection.
I started having panic attacks and problems with depression. I used alcohol and food to temporarily change how I felt. I could no longer stay numb. I became a raging bitch. Yes, that was the easiest emotion to let loose.
I was miserable and made everyone around me miserable. I felt like a failure. I didn’t even know how to show my own children affection. I didn’t know how to say ‘I love you’ to anyone. I didn’t even know how to deal with others emotions.
I lived this way for many years, until I hit my breaking point. I came to the realization that this life I was living was slowly killing me. I either needed to change or give up completely.
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I made a decision. A decision to be different than my upbringing had programmed me to be. I wanted more. So I went on a search for answers.
I read an enormous amount of self help books. I learned so much in such a short period of time that I felt quite overwhelmed. I really didn’t know where to start.
I also realized quickly that none of these books were going to do it for me. I couldn’t just read the darn book and be miraculously changed. I had to just squash my fears, step forward and take a chance. I had to do the work.
So what did I do? I told someone I loved them. Scariest thing I ever did. And you know what? It was great. It felt great.
It was at this point where I realized that I didn’t care about rejection. I was going to be me from now on as much as humanly possible.
If I felt compelled to give you a hug because you were feeling down, then a hug was what you got. If I was sad, I allowed myself to cry.
If I got upset or angry, I allowed myself to feel that too. If I didn’t agree with you I would kindly say so. No more stuffing.
It was freedom. It is freedom.
It is not always easy. Sometimes I still have to remind myself even after all this time not to ignore how I feel. To not be afraid to express those feelings because of any fears I have concerning how someone else might view me.
Why It’s Important to Recognize your Emotions
If you don’t allow yourself to feel, it makes it very difficult to grow at an emotional level. You never give yourself the opportunity to figure out why you feel the way you do. Or why you do the things you do.
Our thoughts determine the emotions we feel. These thoughts can either be instructive for our lives or destructive.
Our feelings then determine what actions or inactions we make at any given moment throughout our days and determine our results.
It’s vital to recognize our emotions to understand why our lives are the way they are. We then have the ability and tools to determine if we want to make changes in our lives. To understand why we need to make these changes and how to do so.
Functions of Emotions
Emotions are an important facet of everything in our lives. Here are just a few of the many important functions our emotions play in our lives.
- They give you the ability to communicate more clearly with others.
- They help others understand who you are, and help you to understand those around you
- Your emotions determine what actions and behaviors you chose to make in your life.
- All of the decisions you make throughout your day are based on your emotions and how you feel.
- They keep you safe by helping you determine whether or not something is unsafe
- Your emotions determine your level of motivation in life.
- They have an influence on both your physical and mental health
- They help you grieve and heal from traumas.
I’m now able to successfully have that loving relationship where I feel comfortable expressing how I feel.
I’ve learned over and over again that it’s possible to have the things in life you want. Unfortunately it’s very seldom just handed to you.
It’s something you just have to make a commitment to do. And then do it. Keep moving forward even when it’s scary.
The more you take action on those things that scare you the less power they have to cause that fear.
You reprogram your mind to realize that those things we fear most to change are usually the very things that will ultimately bring us the most happiness.
This will then give you a greater amount of motivation to make more changes. You just have to take that first step. Just do it.