Suck It Up Buttercup

Suck it up buttercup
| 3 Minute Read |

Coming from a very “stiff upper lip” culture, I’ve spent many years of my life “just getting on with it”. Whenever I speak to friends and colleagues, it’s not at all unusual to find they come from a long line of “emotion avoiding” generations. If we can suppress or sweep emotions under the carpet, it’s just better all round. Less messy. Or is it?

I’ve already shared the very un-Disney outburst I had a couple of years ago after months and months of suppressing emotions – Would You Kiss Mickey Mouse with that Mouth?. I was recently reflecting that if we had hit this Covid-19 pandemic a couple of years ago, before my daughter and I had worked out how to healthily communicate our emotions, I shudder to think how difficult life would have been. My thoughts then turned to how intense the last 6 months have been, and how, for even the most loving of families, the close proximity of living and working together 24/7 has been very tough at times.

This article “Suppressing Your Emotions Can Be Incredibly Bad For Your Health” really helped me understand the unhealthy impact of suppressing emotions – I’ve always known they have to go “somewhere”. One of the best ways to deal with emotions is to slow down, stop and see it. For very many people (myself included) this has been a positive side effect of the pandemic and lockdown—the time and space to work through things. I further deepened this by taking an 8-week mindfulness course which has most certainly helped. I’m embracing the “beautiful mess effect” (referred to in the article above), much of it through the writing of my Behind the Hashtag articles. I also work through some of my “beautiful mess” with help from family and friends – their blend of life experience and coaching training has been invaluable.

Not everyone is that lucky, though. I’ve been acutely aware these past months that for too many people they don’t feel they have anyone they can turn to. All the anxiety, fear and anger is pushed down. In addition to making people ill, the article also suggests that in some cases, it’s showing up as aggression. After the lockdown was eased, I noticed a real edginess from some people in shops, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much road rage. It makes me wonder if this is partly the impact of all that unprocessed anxiety and fear?

There isn’t an easy answer, I would encourage you to notice any unhealthy “coping” you or those close to you may be adopting. If you don’t have someone close you can talk to – think about reaching out to some of the help being made available (see below). (Support will vary by country and depending on where you work).

When it comes to emotional challenges, my key takeaway from the article was definitely a feeling of “it’s normal”, we all encounter it on some level or another. It is vital to be kind to yourself as you work through it, as it won’t be a ‘once and done’ task. The more we deal with our emotions, the less control they will have over us. Take care of yourselves.

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