Sarah Blake LaRose (3kitties) wrote,
Sarah Blake LaRose

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notes on controlling emotional expression

I'm on a bit of a posting rampage this evening... I think I'll head over to my other journal after this post--or maybe not. I've been contemplating posting a bit of deeply emotional stuff about various topics, and I realized something about myself and my LJ.

Writing in my journal has been extremely therapeutic for me. This has always been the case, but I've noticed it especially lately.

I've been discovering that I experience a fair amount of negative emotion lately. Negative emotion itself is really nothing new for me: it has been with me for most of my life. But I've always had difficulty knowing how to manage it because I felt that I should push it away, get rid of it. People always noticed my "sunny personality" most, and the negative emotions contrast so sharply with this! Yet to push them away, deny them or refuse myself access to them, seems unfair, even cruel. I would never do this to another person. One of my mantras in child care is always that if a child is crying there is generally a good reason and that if something negative happens and the child is powerless to change it, a bit of healthy crying isn't going to hurt anybody. So why can't adults have the same rights to a bit of healthy expression? Somewhere the rules have gotten changed. The only acceptable emotions are positive emotions. After all, those negative emotions might get out of control.

The answer to fear of uncontrolled negative emotions isn't suppression. It is learning how to handle emotions with maturity, how to express them without hurting other people. It's a lot easier said than done. I'm certainly not there yet. But I'm closer than I used to be. Thinking about writing something in my journal gives me a chance to think about how it would affect my readers--and that helps me to think about how I want to say it (or whether I want to say it at all). I still fly off the handle more often than I want to, but I succeed at bridling myself more often than I've expected I would be able to. It's nice progress to see. The fact that I can do it with the degree of pain that I've been in over the past few months is encouraging to me. I hope that I will continue to improve and never take this for granted.


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