Often, when asked how we are, we say, ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m good’. But are we really? Or are we feeling a complexity of emotions that we are hiding away to fit in with societal expectations that have been created, in which asking ‘how are you’ has started to seem meaningless? It is the very odd occasion when someone actually wants more and pushes, asking, ‘how are you really?’
Where does this surface level response to how we are come from? I believe it stems from our unwillingness to share emotions. Either because we don’t feel our emotions will be accepted or because we may be judged. How often are we told to be ‘strong’, implying that we shouldn’t engage in our emotions or share them? Or, we are told we’re over-sensitive, so we squash the emotions we feel. Not only do we keep our emotions from others, but then a lot of the time we keep them from ourselves as well.
We need to reshape this idea that sharing emotions is a sign of weakness. It’s not. Acknowledging emotions shows true self-understanding and awareness. It allows us a path to heal and move forward through life’s inevitable ups and downs.
Sharing our emotions also allows us to empower others, especially children. It gives others the inspiration and confidence to articulate their feelings and emotions. We will create a healthier world if we allow everyone, young and old, to share their emotions openly, without making them feel sensitive, weak or ‘unmanly’.
Why do we need a label for it? If you have an emotion, express it. Emotions are part of who we are. Speaking them, living them and being them doesn’t make you any more or less of a person. It just is. So, let’s start talking about our emotions, to allow ourselves to thrive but also to give our children the words and empowerment to accept who they are and acknowledge the importance of emotions in developing their ability to flourish.