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What are Negative Emotions and Why do we suppress them?

Negative emotions like anger and anxiety are to be expressed and not suppressed or repressed. Else, the effects would not only be felt mentally but also physically. Here's an excerpt from Savitha Hosamane's Book Erupt With Joy that elucidates the same. Read ON! #StayInspiredOnTheGo

Negative Emotions

Negative emotions evoke negative feelings within us. They are the feelings that make us miserable and sad. Because of these emotions, we start to hate ourselves and others around us. They decrease our confidence and attention capacity.

Examples: Anxiety, disgust, grief, self-abuse, humiliation, worthless, lost, conflict, criticize, helpless, etc.

We experience the feeling of anxiousness, as we are not relaxed with whatever we are. After my pre-university certification, I got a merit seat in engineering and that was one of the best ways for a secured settled life. There was no question of any passion. I was the first girl in the family to study engineering. I studied for all the wrong reasons. I think studying engineering was not because I greatly loved that profession and that was what my heart wanted to do. It was pride and prestige then. I took up a role that was not what my inner being wanted. This rift between what I wanted to be and what I was doing lead to self-combustion within me. In spite of having a first-class degree also I didn’t want to work. I wanted to be my own boss. I set up my own venture. I always tried to convince myself that am happy though I was not happy internally. I told myself that was the best option for me. This kind of internal struggle is what creates bondage of anxiety within a person. I had created my own self-exile with my actions and suffered.

Ponder Point

Acknowledge a situation where you feel isolated and in a sort of self-exile. Be absolutely honest. See if you can write it also.

Negative Emotions

Expressed, Suppressed and Repressed Emotions

Emotions like anger are either expressed, suppressed or repressed depending on the situation. When it is a fight with a sibling, anger is openly expressed verbally and sometimes in action too by throwing things or hitting each other. When a strict parent is scolding a child, anger is usually not expressed. In such cases, it is suppressed or repressed. Suppression or repression is a defense mechanism when we are not able to express our emotions openly. When we do not want to talk about the incident and we want to forget it, we adopt suppression or repression.

Suppression is consciously forgetting an idea, an incident or an experience. Repression is unconsciously forgetting an idea, an incident, or an experience.

Why we repress?

What will people say? This is what has plagued us so much that we are not at all honest with what we feel. We have been constantly compared right from the time of our birth to the present. You are tall, thin, dark, unintelligent, lazy and so on. Look at your sister, brother or neighbor. Why can’t you be like him/her? We are heaped with so many expectations that we ourselves have rejected our own feelings and ourselves too. That is where we have become hypocrites. We want to be richer, respectable, and safe in our comfort zone; even though we feel worthless inside. We repress feelings inside and project to the outside world that we also are in agreement with what is expected from us. Therefore, we do things accordingly, study accordingly, find a job, marry the girl/boy as he or she is supposed to be good. We also want to invest in assets and save for our future generation. What we want and feel is totally lost in the entire process. We make ourselves helpless.

Effect of Suppression on the physical body

Suppression is not a mental phenomenon; it is also physical as we are body-mind – psychosomatic. Whatever is done to the body affects the mind and whatever is done with the mind, the body is affected. Body and mind are two aspects of the same phenomenon.

When we repress unwanted ideas or experiences into the unconscious, it will create problems. When allowed to express through the surface, it disappears. Any wound, which is expressed on the surface is good; it is on the way to become healed. When forced inwards, it turns into a disease, which can be very dangerous. It can turn to cancer too.

Negative Emotions

When you are angry with your boss, spouse, in-laws or close friend and you do not want to show your anger, you smile…a fake smile. You create a smile and push the anger down. What is happening to the body? The body was ready to fight. The body was going to be violent and aggressive. When you become violent and aggressive, energy would be released. Now when you cannot be violent or aggressive, what will happen to the muscles that were ready to be aggressive? They will become crippled. The energy from muscles pushes them to be aggressive and you push them back in order not to be aggressive. There will be a conflict. They are ready to express something and you are pushing them not to express. You are suppressing them. Then your body becomes crippled.

This happens with every emotion and it goes on day after day, for years. Then your body becomes crippled all over. All the nerves become crippled; they are not flowing, they are not liquid, they are not alive. They have become dead; they have been poisoned and have become tangled up. They are not natural.

The natural spontaneity of the flow of the body is gone as it is crushed. In every part of the body, there is poison. In every muscle, there is suppressed anger, suppressed greed, suppressed jealousy, hatred. Everything is suppressed there. The body is really diseased.

Repression is a slow process through which we destroy ourselves. It makes you weak as you are always in conflict with yourself. Repressed emotions go to the unconscious and start working from there. When they go underground, they become very powerful.

Free oneself of suppression or repression

Express your emotions. Express your joys and sadness in all its shades. Be true to what is within you. Do not fight with your own self. When you love yourself, you will never be repressive. A person who cannot harm himself will never harm anybody. When you are happy, you create a happy world around you.

Become conscious of your repressions and you can be freed of it. Be more expressive as there will be no conflict within. There will be no room for confusion.

Listen to your instincts, to your body, to your heart, to your intelligence. Listen to a strong voice within you and you will never feel lost. Trust your feelings. When you are feeling angry in some moments, acknowledge the anger – it is not false. A person who cannot be angry cannot be loving.

When the mind is filled with emotion, the body corresponds to it; emotion must be parallel with body motion. If emotion is there and the body does not move with it, that means there is a certain suppression of the body. Emotions must correspond with a body movement; otherwise, it is not emotion. If the body is controlled, the emotion will be controlled. Each emotion has to correspond with a movement of the body. It is a natural function. Enjoy it and allow the body movement. When we co-operate with the body movements, the body will have a very subtle and graceful movement with every emotion. Be natural.

Importance of expression of emotions
Life is valuable because of our emotions, laughter, tears, smiles, sentiments, and moods. We have been taught not to be sensitive as feelings don’t pay. Don’t laugh; you won’t be taken as sincere. Don’t weep; do not show your softness and vulnerability. This is absolute repression. Emotions have to be expressed, relieved and relaxed. It is only through the expression of emotions, we can come to that vibration where communication is possible. Be authentic and sensitive; touch more, feel more, laugh more and cry more. While this article is truly inspiring and insightful, the book Erupt With Joy has a lot more content that you cannot miss reading. The book is available both on & for you to grab a copy of your own.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 27th September 2020.

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