Are you someone that is really good at holding in your emotions? Yeah…me too.
I’ve been there, trust me. I spent most of my life keeping everything I thought and felt to myself. And here’s the reality: keeping all of that under wraps was detrimental to how I grew as a person.
Honestly, I believe that I wasn’t able to really move forward on my mental health journey until I opened up about things.
Related: My Mental Health Story
For the longest time, I thought that I was being “strong” by holding everything inside of myself. Fun fact: that was the wrong mindset.
Growth happens when you release the things that you’ve been holding inside of yourself for so long. Strength happens when you allow yourself to talk about the negative things, and use those conversations to move forward another step.
Let me be clear that I don’t think this happens overnight. Opening up is a process, and it takes a lot of steps and a lot of work. (At the end of this post, I’ll be giving you my #1 tip on how to start the process!)
But if you need some extra persuasion to start that process, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s 5 reasons why you need to stop holding in your emotions like…right now.
It makes you irritable, grumpy, and overall even more negative
I know, I’m getting REAL with y’all right from the beginning. But it’s time to stop beating around the bush.
Holding everything inside is not healthy.
It makes everything else seem negative. If you’re constantly thinking about what’s wrong, you’re gonna spread that negativity into everything you do and everything you say.
It’s hard enough to deal with negative emotions all the time inside of your own head, but if it leaks into other aspects of your life, it’s just gonna make it all worse.
Let’s talk about an example:
You got some sort of bad news in the morning. You don’t say anything about it. It festers inside of your head. Later in the day, someone asks you a question and all you have to say is, “Leave me alone,” and you walk away.
In the evening, you’re making dinner and a bowl of ingredients you have on the counter ends up spilling on the floor. That little event sends you over the edge.
And by over the edge, I mean that maybe you start crying for what seems like no reason or you get super mad. From the perspective of someone else seeing it happen, it doesn’t really make sense.
Related: How to Acknowledge That It’s More Than Just a Bad Day
But that’s what happens when you let thoughts and feelings simmer inside of your head. Everything else that happens to you ends up being a gigantic, negative event.
You don’t want that…do you?!
It’s time to lift those emotions off of your chest and off of your heart. It will allow more space for positive vibes to get in, and the difference you’ll notice will be powerful stuff.
Negative emotions can quickly spiral out of control
We can find this happening in the example from above!
Don’t get me wrong, dropping ingredients on the floor is upsetting, but it’s a problem that’s probably easily solved.
But alas, it was not. It might have felt like the world was ending.
Holding in your emotions makes them more intense and they can send your mind reeling down a dark path.
I don’t want to call it overreaction to things, but if I’m being honest…that’s kinda what it becomes. And the only reason I say that is because I WAS that person!
I used to cry at things that frustrated me the tiniest bit (like…sob crying), start conjuring up scenarios about the situation that weren’t real and overreact to what other people said to me.
Honestly, I started to lose control over how I was feeling and what had upset me in the first place. I couldn’t figure out how to manage things if I didn’t know where they started.
If you can relate to that, it’s important to start talking about those negative feelings and situations in some form. Opening up about them will force them to be more real and allow you to process them in a MUCH better way.
It has a big affect on your relationships
Holding in your emotions = people around you not having any idea what you’re thinking about and/or how you’re feeling
Relationships are built on trust and sharing things about each other. You wouldn’t wanna be best friends with someone you don’t know anything about, right?!
I have some serious first-hand experience with this. For the good part of my life, I struggled to build strong relationships. I never wanted to open up, and therefore people didn’t know anything about me.
Or if they asked about anything and I said I didn’t wanna talk about it, it would lead to fights. There were a number of reasons why my relationships kinda sucked due to the fact that I held in all of my emotions.
People in your life can get REALLY frustrated if they never know what’s going on inside of your head or what you’re going through. Having good relationships with people means that they just want to help you.
Related: How to Deal with Hard Realities of Depression
You miss a chance to see outside perspectives
Okay, this is HUGE! I think a major part of growing along your mental health journey is having the ability to see things through others’ eyes.
If you’re holding in your emotions, the only view of whatever situation it is is yours. And I’m not saying that your perspective is incorrect or not valid (because it TOTALLY is!), but it can get clouded and biased.
When you’re trying to process a situation or a negative feeling, it’s so easy to think about it only in your terms. And that’s perfectly normal! But you might find that you’re not thinking of someone else involved or not seeing how you’re treating others because of it.
Other people can offer you solutions to the problem that you might not have thought of! And they can help you step out of your own shoes and manage your emotions in a way that’s much more effective.
Being able to step into someone else’s shoes of a situation is a VERY powerful thing, but you lose that chance if you hold everything inside of yourself.
So how do you start opening up?
I definitely don’t want to tell you to stop holding in your emotions and then NOT tell you how to do it. (I’m not that mean, I promise lol.)
I said this before but I’m gonna say it again – this is not an overnight process. Growing through your feelings and opening up takes a lot of work and requires consistent effort on your behalf.
And I know that it’s scary! I’ve lived through that scary phase. But that doesn’t mean you should run away from your own emotions. It’s time to acknowledge them and open up about them.
That brings me to my #1 tip. Because of how familiar I am with this process, I know it’s not easy. And I’m not gonna tell you something crazy that you need to do to start opening up, because I know it doesn’t work like that. So the step that I suggest you take right now is:
Just start with the first layer.
You don’t have to go into all the nitty-gritty details all right now! I think a lot of people try opening up about things with the idea that they need to go into all the details all at once. And I disagree.
Last year when I was going through the worst part of my depression, I didn’t tell my boyfriend, Alex, anything. I kept it all to myself for a good while. But when I DID finally start opening up, the only thing I said to him at first was that I was depressed.
I didn’t tell him all the terrible feelings I was having or how bad I felt right away because I wasn’t ready to. I said that I was dealing with depression and I will talk about it more as I feel comfortable.
And that worked!! He finally understood what I was dealing with, and he didn’t feel like he needed to push me to talk about it. It was an amazing solution.
It actually took me multiple months for me to talk about everything that I went through during that dark time. And that’s okay! Because I took it one step at a time as I felt comfortable, and I was in communication with him about it all the time. He no longer felt like I was hiding something from him.
I can’t even explain how huge that was!
So I really encourage you to release that very first layer to someone you feel comfortable talking to, and leave it at that. You’ll continue to find the strength to talk about things even more as time goes on.
And that will make SUCH a big difference in your life.
It’s time to let go of those negative feelings.
Are you holding in your emotions?
I know this post was full of truth bomb reasons why you need to stop holding in your emotions, but I think it’s really important. I encourage you to try out my #1 tip from above.