Burying Emotions: Why It's Unhealthy
Sometimes I will get a call or an email asking for counseling, then never hear from the person again. This is normal and I have come to expect it. Most people don’t reach out for help until they’re desperate or have run out of solutions. Yet many times, it’s not solutions we settle for, it’s distraction.
Sadness, grief and anger are emotions that are disturbing and invade our lives at the most inconvenient times. Our first reaction is to bury these feelings and push them below the surface so we can carry on with our day-to-day lives. We opt for appearing like we have it all together while trying to numb the pain through various activities—resorting to anywhere from workaholism to alcoholism. But the feelings will return, and if deeply suppressed, may return with a vengeance years later. Unresolved grief can lead to depression, anger issues and a host of other problems. Unresolved grief will also negatively affect your personal relationships.
It doesn’t help that America is a highly individualistic culture. We’re taught to pull ourselves up and not depend on others, even if it means that you should put up a false front. This has seeped into the American church as well. Some Christian teachers believe that should deny your emotions and completely ignore your feelings. “Doing the right thing” and simply believingin God has replaced having faith and trust in God.
Yet there is a better way. We need to overcome the fear of our humanity and trust ourselves completely to God. He is not afraid of your feelings and wants you to pray in a way that shares exactly what is on your heart and mind so you can release it to Him. The Psalms are full of various people who cried out to God honestly with much emotion. The Lord may not give you an explanation, but He promises to carry you through. He will provide other people to walk with you and process your pain. He will give you the strength to overcome and you will eventually find peace as a result. The positive feelings will return. They will. Trust God with your whole heart—after all, He is the one who made it.
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