Are we allowed to express our feelings to the degree we feel them, or are we restricted by how others will react around us?   Depending on your personality type the answer to this of course will vary.  If you are a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kind of guy, feelings of anger, or sorrow may get stuffed down so as not to lose that manly reputation.  Determined not to look like a big baby, the manly-man type (oh, this applies to women too) will just put on a brave face, maybe slough it off with humor or display some  false content.  Then everyone can say, “oh isn’t she brave!” “isn’t he stoic!”  But where did those feelings go?  Unfortunately, they don’t evaporate just because the ego doesn’t want to deal with them.  They seep into the body and settle there.  Over time, this pile of unacknowledged emotion gets so large that it one day explodes, often in a direction that has nothing to do with its origin.  Often directed at the loved one closest by. 

And what of the victim type; where every little discomfort warrants a complaint or a personal pity party? They seem less troubled by expressing their feelings and how it might effect others, in fact, I believe this sect are card-holders of the Misery Loves Company Club.  And where does the energy go from all of those negatively expressed feelings?  Out into the world, often received by the loved one closest by.

So how the Hell are we supposed to deal with all the inevitable emotion?  What’s the appropriate amount of feeling to express and for how long are we allowed to embrace it?!  Well, from a  yoga perspective, it’s quite simple, but as usual, not always easy to practice.  Feel.  Feel fully.  Validate and respond to exactly what is arising in the moment.  The key here is to respond instead of react.  Letting the emotion run up and out with full self-expression and then…let it GO.  No holding on or replaying the drama. Taking full responsibility for your own feelings is imperative-no blaming others for how you feel.  I don’t begrudge anyone ‘s method of personal self-expression.  Who am I to expect someone to respond the way I would?  Each one of us has a different threshold and is wired individually to respond to life as it comes at us. 

As we connect with the wisdom of the body/mind which resides in the heart and or soul center as opposed to the ego, we can allow ourselves to feel fully and still maintain a sense of balance.  We release and let go of that which does not serve.  We are human!  As such, we feel.  Deeply.  It’s ok to let it out. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

“Lose/Win people bury a lot of feelings. And unexpressed feelings come forth later in uglier ways. Psychosomatic illnesses often are the reincarnation of cumulative resentment, deep disappointment and disillusionment repressed by the Lose/Win mentality. Disproportionate rage or anger, overreaction to minor provocation, and cynicism are other embodiments of suppressed emotion. People who are constantly repressing, not transcending feelings toward a higher meaning find that it affects the quality of their relationships with others.”

Covey, Stephen R.