Why Avoiding Your Emotions Will Always Catch Up to You

Why Avoiding Your Emotions Will Always Catch Up to You ©iStock/jessicaphoto

We’re human beings and we have a lot of feelings, many of which we try to shove down so they don’t overwhelm us. Sure, we’re comfortable expressing the whole gamut of emotions via emojis when we’re texting our best friends, but we don’t always really take the time to process why we’re feeling certain things or deal with them in any real way. Here are some reasons why avoiding your emotions will always catch up to you.

  1. We have emotions for a reason. Our feelings are there in part to be a guiding compass, even at the most basic levels. This feels dangerous, that feels exciting. When we avoid an emotion, but stay in a situation, those feelings might back off for a while, but most likely they’ll come back and keep tapping on your shoulder until you admit that they’re there.
  2. Emotions are often foretelling. You can ignore a feeling of sadness about a relationship all that you want, but in retrospect it’ll usually become clear why you were feeling that way, anyway. It’s up to you when you acknowledge it.
  3. We have to feel certain things to move past them. Grief is a good example, anger is another. If you’re pissed off, don’t pretend that you aren’t. Let that anger roll through your body and do what you need to do to process it on your own. If there’s an action to be taken, it’s generally better to take it once you sit with the emotion yourself, that way you have a clear head and direction when you involve other people.
  4. We generally have to feel stuff to grow. Setting goals or having dreams is a lot different than the part of the process where you actually have to do something about them. Fear is a common symptom. When you squash it, you might inadvertently be squashing your own growth, as well as forming a self-fulfilling prophecy that going after it will let you down. Generally, the good stuff is right on the other side of that fear.
  5. Emotional avoidance is sort of like lying. Ultimately, ignoring emotions that exist is just lying to yourself (and sometimes other people), and if there’s anyone we should be truthful and authentic with, it’s definitely ourselves.
  6. Other people can often see how you’re feeling, anyway. Oh yeah. We spend so much time walking around, trying to stuff our emotions down, that we don’t realize how totally visible they are to other people.
  7. Emotions are information. But they’re only one source of information. Generally when you feel an irrational emotion, it’s easy to whisk it away with your rational brain. But it’s those rational emotions that don’t go away quite so easily. Those are the ones that are actually trying to tell you something, and you should take a minute to hear what it is. They can actually be pretty helpful, when you think about it.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com