Why is it hard and scary for many to express their feelings?
First, emotions and feelings are related but different concepts.
Emotions are like a secret helper inside your body that makes you feel different ways without you even realizing it. For example, if you see a scary movie, your heart might beat faster and you might start to feel afraid causing your emotions to kick in gear.
Feelings are what you experience when you are aware of your emotions. So, when you watch the scary movie and you realize that you feel scared. It's like your emotions are talking to you, and you are listening to what they have to say.
Emotions are like the secret helpers and feelings are like the conversation you have with those helpers to make sense of what's happening to and around you.
According to PsychCentral, possible reasons people may struggle with expressing their feelings may be related to the topic being too tough, attachment issues, trauma, social norms or even your personality style.
Let's not forget about stereotypes and judgements such as "women are too emotional" or Black women are angry or too loud.
When communicating, it's important to take shared responsibility for how we learn and practice expressing our feelings and needs. You have to trust yourself and know you deserve to be seen, supported and emotionally safe when expressing yourself. This has to be returned to others as well.
Did you ever consider your expression style?
Verbal Communication: One of the most effective ways to express feelings is through verbal communication. This can be done through speaking with someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or therapist. It's important to find someone who is a good listener and will support you as you work through your emotions.
Writing: Writing can be a therapeutic way to express feelings. This can be done through journaling, writing letters (even if they are never sent), or composing poetry or creative writing. Writing allows you to process your emotions and reflect on them in a way that can be cathartic.
Artistic Expression: Artistic expression can be a powerful tool for expressing emotions. This can include painting, drawing, dancing, playing music, or any other form of creative expression. Artistic expression allows you to connect with your emotions in a unique and nonverbal way, which can be especially helpful if you find it difficult to put your feelings into words.
It's important to note that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with different methods of expressing feelings to find what works best for you.
What must your consider when expressing your feelings
Take time to recognize and understand your feelings. This will allow you the opportunity to gather your thoughts, process why and what you may be feeling, and what you need to address them. It can be helpful to name the emotion out loud and use "I" statements such as I feel angry... I feel scared.
Speak your truth. When it comes to your feelings, it is important to express them in a way that is authentic to you. Find a way to channel your feelings in a productive way without being disrespectful to yourself or others.
Connect with your community. It can be helpful to talk to other trust people whom you can safely ask questions and seek advice on how to express yourself in a healthy way. At Beloved Wellness Center, we focus on helping you identify your support system or community which is important on your wellness journey.
Find healthy outlets for your emotions. Whether it’s journaling, exercising, spending time outdoors, or engaging in another creative activity, find ways to express your feelings that are beneficial to you. It's important that these outlets allow you to process and move through your emotions in a positive way.
Take care of yourself. Expressing your emotions can be overwhelming and even exciting if this was a goal of yours. Taking care of yourself before, during and after conversations can help you stay grounded and add value to most conversations.