Updated: Mar 8
Our feelings are important because they motivate the way we behave and interact with others. When we suppress our emotions, they become stronger and can become distorted, causing us to behave in negative ways. When we talk about our feelings to the right people, however, it is easier to keep our emotions in check and we usually start to feel better.
I feel... These two little words can be the biggest mountains to climb at some time in our lives. We may choose to suppress our feelings for all sorts of reasons.
We might worry that:
It will hurt too much to express ourselves
Others might feel burdened by our concerns
Others might become upset, hurt or angry when we express our
Others might respond by rejecting or distancing themselves from us
Getting “emotional” will be perceived as a weakness
Admitting to being unable to cope will be judged negatively and have future repercussions
Our view of ourselves will be harmed if we give in to how we feel
So, we hide our feelings away and try to “just get on with it”, until there comes a day when we no longer can.
We... Did you notice that word above? “We” indicates that this is something we have in common with many other people, and you’re not alone. Talking about your feelings with others is a great strength. It is about taking control of your life. It recognizes that living a fulfilling life will involve experiencing a whole range of emotions that we might label as “good” or “bad” and that in the long run this can’t be avoided.
Talking it out Knowing how to begin a conversation that involves the words “I feel” can be difficult and it is normal to feel anxious about this. Choosing whether it’s family, a friend, colleague, health professional or counsellor that you talk to is not as important as deciding with who you feel is most “safe” to talk to. That person might be someone completely outside of your usual network.
Some people find it easier to start the conversation on the phone or through social media and progress to a face to face conversation, other prefer to be with someone engaged in an activity and allow the conversation to open naturally.
Whatever you decide, it is also important to choose a time when you can talk uninterrupted. Often, we can find that just having someone to listen to us is enough and that people respond to our need for help better than we expected. Sometimes our efforts to talk don’t go as well as we’d like, but it is important not to give up. There is someone out there and there are helplines where you can talk in confidence to someone who will not make judgements whatever you say.
3 key takeaways:
Talking about how we feel is a natural part of our relationship with others and not just an event that occurs in times of need. It helps us to understand ourselves and enables others to understand us and respond accordingly.
Expressing your feelings is not just about the “bad times” either. Talking about our feelings can be an expression of joy and contentment that can spread a “good feel” vibe all round.
But mostly, talking it out is good for our mental health and well-being and helps us to deal with whatever life throws our way.
If you need to talk to someone, you can call the Samaritans for free 24/7 on 116 123.
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