“You’ve got to resurrect the deep pain within you and give it a place to live that’s not within your body. Let it live in art. Let it live in writing. Let it live in music. Let it be devoured by building brighter connections. Your body is not a coffin for pain to be buried in. Put it somewhere else.”– Author Unknown
Recognizing and addressing suppressed emotions can play a pivotal role in the healing process and may even halt or reverse the progression of disease. Moreover, these buried emotions can detrimentally impact our self-esteem, further complicating the recovery journey.
James J. Gross, a distinguished expert in emotion regulation, emphasizes the damaging psychological and physical impacts of repressing emotions. According to Gross, based on extensive research, not only does stifling emotional expression have clear consequences for mental health, increasing susceptibility to conditions like anxiety and depression, but it also poses significant risks to our cardiovascular system and general well-being.
In his 2002 essay, Emotion Regulation: Affective, Cognitive and Social Consequences, Gross shares the following insights: suppressing or withholding emotional responses has been identified not merely as a psychological challenge but as a precursor to tangible physiological consequences. This emotional suppression is intricately linked to a spectrum of health issues, emphasizing the profound interplay between emotional and physical health. Recognizing and addressing emotions become paramount for mental stability and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Practices facilitating emotional processing benefit and safeguard overall health.
Whether emotional, psychological, or physical, pain can potentially hold us hostage. Like a shadowy figure lurking in the depths of our psyche, it can trap us within our memories, doubts, and fears. Over time, this pain can erode our self-esteem, making us believe that we are less than what we are and creating disease within the body.
A transformative healing journey can be navigated by channelling our pain into realms of creative expression, offering it residence in art, writing, and music rather than allowing it to dwell within us. Rather than permitting pain to linger as a perpetual burden, we can transmute it into something positive and healing. The power to alter our narrative within our grasp.
Art: The Canvas of Emotion
Art, in its many forms, offers a safe space for us to lay bare our emotions, including our pain. The strokes of a paintbrush, the moulding of clay, or the clicking of a mouse can all become avenues to express the emotions that often seem too vast and overwhelming to put into words.
When we pour our pain into our creations, it no longer remains an abstract emotion inside us. Instead, it takes on a tangible form outside of us. This helps externalize the pain and allows us to see it from a different perspective. Over time, the very act of creating becomes therapeutic.
Writing: Conversing with the Higher Self
For many, writing is a sacred act. It’s a conversation between the heart and the pen (or keyboard). Letting our pain live in words gives us permission to confront and understand it.
Journaling, poetry, blog posts, or prose can be potent tools in our journey towards self-esteem. They let us voice our fears, doubts, and insecurities without judgment. And in the process, we often find clarity and solutions to what troubles us.
Music: The Symphony of Healing
Music has always been a universal language of emotion. Whether we’re creating it or simply listening to it, music resonates with the deepest parts of our being. By expressing pain through music, we transform our hardships into songs and our sadness into compositions. It’s no wonder that many of the world’s greatest songs come from places of profound pain – they touch us because they come from a genuine place.
By channelling our pain into creative endeavours – whether it be art, writing, music, or any other form of expression – we can transform it into a force of positive change. These artistic outlets allow us to build brighter connections and provide a medium to understand and express our deepest emotions. In doing so, we give ourselves an opportunity to rebuild our self-esteem, reminding ourselves that pain is just one part of our journey. Ultimately, we hold the power to decide how it will shape our narrative.
Remember that the next time you’re engulfed by pain or sorrow, suppressing it might not be the solution. Emotions, even the challenging ones, demand acknowledgement and understanding. Face your emotions, particularly the challenging ones, directly and openly. Provide them the room they need to emerge and be felt, rather than holding them back or burying them. It’s essential to acknowledge and understand them for true emotional well-being. By embracing these feelings and channelling them creatively or introspectively, you can initiate a process of transformation.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious,” wrote renowned psychologist Carl Jung, “it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.” To me, this quote speaks to the importance of bringing awareness to our suppressed or unconscious emotions and addressing them, as unacknowledged feelings can unconsciously influence our behaviours, decisions, and overall well-being. Making the unconscious conscious and giving voice to suppressed emotions allows for greater self-understanding and personal agency.