Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Musings: the danger of suppressing emotions

The other day I did an exercise. I had been driving earlier in the day and needed a few things from the grocery store. One store had one thing but not the other things I needed. Another store didn't have another item. I ended up in three different stores to get four items. Earlier in the day, I had received a contract that had mistakes in it. I told the person about the mistakes and then received a revision with the same mistakes in it. There was another incident earlier in the week, equally frustrating. I realized, while driving that anger is not an emotion I really allow myself to feel. I'd known this before, but I thought it was enough to realize that for me, rather than feel angry, I get hurt or depressed. It's not enough.

I am in a grieving process for losses I experienced in my life that I never grieved. Part of the grieving process is anger. So the exercise I did was to make a list of all persons and situations that hurt me or made me depressed and said (inside my own heart) how angry I was. What I noticed was, with each person or incident, I felt the anger in a different part of my body (neck or shoulder or lower back, or jaw, or between my eyes). That's where I've been holding the unexpressed emotion. No wonder I'm tense all the time. Oy!

Then I asked to release all the emotions I am still holding around these people or events. What I'm learning is that if I don't express how I really feel, my body pays the consequences somehow. This doesn't give me permission to blast my anger out at the world. But I can learn to express it in a healthy way, rather than suppressing it and making myself sick.

How about you? Are you comfortable expressing anger?


Anonymous said...

I have family problems and to express the frustration and anger I go to a quiet spot in the apartment and have a good cry. but it do relieve the tension. I also listen to relaxation cds they are helpful.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

They say 80% of all ailments are self-inflicted through repressed emotions. We make ourselves sick.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I have to genuinely stop myself and diagnose my anger or else I'll bury it and feel it in my jaw later! Exercise (which I dislike doing) does seem to help me, as well as music, reading, and writing. But I have to really think about it.

Suze said...

I have no problem feeling anger, unfortunately. What I've been learning to do is release it before it gets super toxic. I've recognized my triggers and when they set off, I just think to myself, 'Not going there today. Thanks.'

Important post, Karen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I go to the gym several times a week - that's where I release my anger.

LD Masterson said...

I can't always express anger to the person I'm angry at but if I have someone to vent to (even the dog), I'm usually okay.

Karen Walker said...

Yvonne, it's great you have found solutions
Diane, 80% is huge.
Elizabeth, it's amazing how the body lets us know what we're doing to ourselves.
Suze, it's great awareness to recognize our triggers
Alex, yes, I'll bet it is
LD, that's a great tip -

L.G. Smith said...

I tend to hold things in too, and I think it showed during my last doctor visit where my blood pressure was up. It really does manifest in the body if we don't work it out some way.

Claudia Moser said...

Strange that you wrote about anger today ... Had similar experiences today!