Keeping Your Feelings Bottled Up or Emotional Freedom?

March 21, 2024

By Fahad Alden

Why outward self-expression benefits more than just your state of mind.

“There was a point where I found myself looking out for people who never cared for me, betrayed me, and didn’t support me.”

Sound familiar?

If you’re like me, you’ve interacted with many people in different capacities, whether family, friends, lovers, or colleagues. And if you struggle with being a people pleaser, chances are high that you’ve become accustomed to putting the feelings of others ahead of your own.

Although I have met and have had amazing guests on my podcast, all 10/10 people, I did feel like there are people outside of that who took my kindness for weakness. Although society oddly praises the selfless for shelving their emotions in favor of sparing someone else’s, repeatedly assuaging the pain of others while your feelings get neglected and frequently ignored can have long-lasting, detrimental effects on your psyche.

I learned that suppressing my feelings only led to being treated like a doormat and contributed to heightened levels of anxiety, stress, and anger.

Suffering In Silence

Being polite is in my DNA. It’s been ingrained in me since childhood to always put on a cheerful demeanor and to always take the high road and smile no matter the circumstance. To be fair, a lot of immigrants have this mindset ingrained in them. This is how we get through memories of war and losing family, and how we cope with losing our homeland.

This mindset lingered with me as I entered university and the workforce. Being positive or “hype man” ended up being a main compliment, which caused me to associate it with my identity. Because of that, I wore “positivity” like a T-shirt, always swallowing my sadness to not burden anyone else with it.

As a minority, you always have this notion that you are not only representing yourself, but your culture, especially in small towns where you may be the only one.

By the grace of God, David, a friend of mine, entered my life a year ago, and he allowed me to express who I was without judgment or desire for me to always be cheery. He taught me that we are not meant to continuously be the rock for everyone in our circle without having someone for us to lean on, too.

Reveling In Self-Expression

I never thought that pouring myself into my creative projects would be the main catalyst to help me break down my walls, allowing me to fully express myself in ways I’ve never experienced. Pouring yourself into creative work, such as art, writing, or music, can be healing for you as well because it cathartically releases emotions, and you get the end product made out of something dark turned into something beautiful.

Living Out Loud

Unlocking my feelings ushered in a newfound freedom that helped improve my communication and built my self-esteem. It can do the same for you, too. As you make this change, you begin to learn the difference between exhibiting decorum when appropriate rather than completely disregarding your own feelings, growing more resentful as time goes on. Suddenly, you wake up knowing your worth.

Mastering the art of vulnerability is not an overnight process, so start slow, stay the course, and if you’re in need of a little musical therapy by “The Weekend” to get you through the tough times, they’ve got you covered. What is it about music that opens us up in ways that no one can? It allows one to feel less alone and more connected to humanity. No matter the age, race or gender, we all get angry, sad, or jealous at some point in life. It’s healthier to embrace the emotions than to act as if they do not exist.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to check other articles and stay connected for future ones.

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