Somehow so many of us have been taught that being strong means “keeping it together.”
We tend hear some version of the following:
- Just ignore it and stay strong, it’ll go away eventually.
- If it happened a long time ago, it shouldn’t matter anymore.
- The less you think about it the easier it’ll be for you.
But the reality is, not thinking about it doesn’t make the painful thing go away. It just becomes a futile game of trying to avoid the monkey on your back. And avoiding that monkey takes a ton of energy–far more energy than addressing it.
The time we spend trying to not feel our feelings ends up costing us dearly. We become more fragile and less able to manage the new ups and downs that come as a natural part of life. We end up being more rigid and less able to take in other people’s emotional experiences, as well as our own.
So, ultimately, having to keep it together just weakens us. The more we can live in our emotional world and try to understand our experience, the quicker we will be able to mend, and the more elastic, agile, and capable we will feel.
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