Even though feelings—also known as emotions—are the splashes of colors that make our rather boring daily routine seem compelling, the truth is that most people are emotionally challenged. Some people do not know how to express their feelings. Expressing wrong emotions can leave us drained, confused, and alone.
It can be very easy to get caught up in your feelings, especially when you lack the proper way to express them. Most people cannot adequately describe a feeling or their emotions, let alone express it healthily. Moreover, so many contradictions are out there about how one should express their mental and emotional thoughts.
Some studies say be blunt—say it the way you feel and blah, blah, blah. Others say be constructive, thoughtful, mindful, and careful how you react. The truth is that we never take the time to analyze the type of emotions we are feeling before we express them. In other words, we do not associate the right energy to the emotions because we have generalized it.
For example, there is a deep meaning to emotional sadness. When you are sad, it is understandable that you are not happy or things are not working the way you expected. However, sadness has depth—like disappointment, gloomy, miserable, hopeless, frustrated, or depressed.
These are emotions linked to sadness, but we only express being sad for all of them. Yes, I agree that it can be a challenge expressing how you feel in the heat of the moment. But if you can express the right emotion, then you will be better for it.
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This Year Has Been a Trying Year
It started with the pandemic, the protest, and many more worries that families suffered throughout the nation. Humans feel a mix of emotions, and quite frankly, 90 percent of people do not know how to express their feelings. The outspoken ones say it as it is, while the shy ones lockup their feelings, struggle, and cope with it in dangerous ways. These bottled up feelings make them stressed, depressed, and a ticking time bomb.
Despite the madness and repercussions associated with how we express our feelings, aptly expressing them is healing to an aggrieved soul.
Asides from bottling up, other unhealthy ways people try to expel their feelings are:
- Ignoring, avoiding, or suppressing the emotion
- Venting the feeling in a wrong manner like a father yelling or resulting in domestic abuse and violence
- Using food, drugs, alcohol, and sex to douse the impact of the emotions
- Resulting in crime or others as a way of venting the emotion
- Being too chatty and losing self-confidence and self-esteem
- Beating yourself up even when you are the victim
- Using the situation around you to judge and suppress the emotions.
Expressing your feelings
Did you know that over 3000 words describe various emotions in the English vocabulary? How many do you recognize? And can you use them correctly?
Emotions are part of life. Without them, life as we know it will be boring and incomplete. However, relying on the methods above is unhealthy and dangerous for anyone. You deserve to express your feelings for many reasons.
Ways to Build Your Emotional Intelligence to Better Express Your Feelings
To be able to better express your feelings, you first have to improve your emotional intelligence. Here are 10 ways you can build your emotional intelligence to enable you to express your feelings better.
1. Feel the Feelings
Growing up, people say “boys do not cry.” They had to be strong and resilient and had no right to show emotions. These are societal and family upbringings that are affecting a bunch of individuals today. Never, ever bottle up your feelings. Instead, acknowledge and accept them. Try to understand the triggers and come up with appropriate measures to express them healthily.
2. Accept the Changes
Our inability to healthily express feelings stems from not wanting to accept the changes around us. When people experience a difference in their surroundings, they do two things.
First, seme people immediately creates this barrier around themselves to shut off the happenings. This means they fail to understand or rather do not see why things should happen without their consent or according to their plan.
For example, a young girl has lived part of her life alone with her father. Suddenly, he starts to date and talks about marriage with a love interest. The girl feels intimidated, abandoned, and not loved. These are all feelings that could be discussed, but she lets them build-up, and it turns to resentment and running away from home or even doing drugs.
The other possible reaction is that she expresses her feeling to her dad, and he lovingly explains that nobody will ever take her place in his heart. She understands her role, builds a relationship with a new mom, and is comfortable in her space.
Emotionally intelligent people accept the changes around them. They understand that purpose and do not let their feelings define who they are or can be. Moreover, they seek value in how feelings play out than how it plays them.
3. Grow From Constructive Criticism
People who cannot accept constructive criticism cannot express their feelings healthily. When you feel you are right and everyone should play your script, then there is a problem. Receiving constructive criticism means being willing to hear feedback about a behavioral expression from those who see you do it.
For example, your boss gets you angry at the office, which happens often. You have never owned up to discuss with them what the problem is. You go on a lunch break with your friend, vent out your frustration, anger, and conclude you are quitting the job.
Your friend disagrees and explains the reasons that might have warranted the boss’ reaction, but you will not hear it because they do not conform to your ideas. You are defending and insisting on your way that is not growing from constructive criticism. You have to learn to understand the other person’s point of view before you go haywire.
4. Talk to Yourself About It
When people have difficulty expressing their emotions, many times, the options are either to speak to a shrink or register at a center where they have others like they. This is a mistake. If you do not know what you are feeling, how then do you wish you describe it to another?
Furthermore, you are told how you feel instead of discovering it yourself. So, when you feel an emotion building up, find a quiet spot, and discuss them.
5. Write Them Down
Journaling is an excellent way to understand and eventually express your emotions. However, there is a catch here—you need to build a concrete emotional vocabulary so that you can with pinpoint accuracy describe that emotion.
To jot down your feelings, try to do so as precisely as possible. Remember the reason for the emotion, how you felt, and how you handle it afterward. Do not express negative emotions. Rather, view the thoughts from a positive angle and work your way up.
6. Be Mindful
Well, this works better with positive feelings as you can control the excitement and is conscious about the surrounding. For negative feelings and hurts, it is a different ball game. Mindfulness is the process of owning the emotions and knowing when they start to build up.
For example, what state of mind were you in when it happened? Were you stressed, happy, or something else? The ability to be mindful can help you channel thoughts and feeling healthily and properly.
7. Stop Seeking Validation for Your Emotions
We all do that at some point. However, if you are right in the way you choose to express your emotions, society will not judge you. If you are wrong, accept it and stop looking for supporters to join your bandwagon.
Seeking validation is a sign that you do not know how to express your feelings. People who seek to validate their emotions could have troubled past or suffered trauma and feel the need for reassurance at every step of the way. It is your emotions, so feel free to experience them. Only then will you understand and express it healthily.
8. Set Healthy Boundaries
Knowing when to say “no” is crucial in expressing your emotions. Never feel obligated to do something for another. Know your limits, what you can take, and work from there. Boundaries keep you in check and enable you to genuinely understand the whys around you.
For example, if you are a very playful person that goes around hugging people and being all touchy and stuff, you cannot get angry when the feeling is reciprocated. If you need to draw a line from the inception, do it and stick to it.
9. Stop Overthinking
Isn’t it funny how we never overthink positive feelings but can write a 2 hours movie script about negative thoughts and feelings? You need to stop that now. Overthinking kills, exaggerates, and blows things out of proportion. Overthinking is the quickest way to get wrapped up in a mentally insecure place. Do not do it, and avoid it.
10. Do Not Validate or Give In
At some point in life, everyone has been in a weird situation—how we wriggled our way out says a lot. Did you give in or justify the mistake of others? If emotion is building up contrary to your values, morals, or beliefs, step away from the situation than become absorbed in it.
Ways to Express Your Feelings Healthily
Now that we have understood our feelings, it is time to express them appropriately. The above steps build your emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, control, and healthily express emotion or feelings via the proper channel. It is also growing and improving in how you handle your feelings so that you are not hurt and do not hurt those that love you.
We mentioned it as a way to build a strong emotionally intelligent mindset. This is a perfect way to express your feelings (any kind of emotion), too. Journaling works incredibly in helping you expel thoughts and feelings raging in your head and heart.
There is no proper way of doing it. Have a book or diary and imprint emotions you observed during the day in whatever manner you felt them. This method allows you to build emotional awareness and devise ways of controlling and overcoming feelings that drive you crazy.
This is a common feeling that defiles a proper way of expression. However, people that experience this emotion want to hit, punch, or get physical. Anger is like an energy force that wants to come out.
If you are angry at the office, go to the restroom and splash cold water on your face to calm down. If you are at home, hit the gym and punch the feeling away. When you are calm and happy, discuss the trigger, and try to avoid such situations in the future.
This is overwhelming energy that seeks to break our resolves and drown us in confusion. The emotion associated with fear is that of failure, low self-esteem, and self-confidence. It causes you to overthink and ask too many questions.
If you are in this state of mind, share how you feel with one person you trust. If you live far away from home, call your parents, sibling, an aunt, just talk to someone that will not judge or criticize you.
4. Pain and sorrow
The healthiest way is to scream, cry, shout, yell, just vent, and let it go. Crying seems to work well with unpleasant emotions. Whether you choose to cry alone or in front of everyone, you will feel better when the tears stop flowing.
Our bodies are always giving us ways to deal with the emotion, listen to your body, and forget about what society says. Your happiness lies in how healthy you express your emotions.
Remember this: our feelings are the emotions that are part of us, and we cannot do without them. However, how we choose to express them will determine if we are tethered or free.
When we face, acknowledge, deal with, and healthily express how we feel, it is for a greater good. It is for you and nobody else. Learn to foster the habit of expressing your feelings healthily as you continue to grow today.
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Featured photo credit: Gabriel Benois via unsplash.com