As women, we are often told to be strong, resilient, and tough. We are expected to keep our emotions in check and not let them affect us. Phrases like "don't cry," "toughen up," or "look on the bright side" are common in our society's vernacular when it comes to dealing with emotions. While the intention behind these words may be good, they can have unintended consequences, especially when it comes to how we perceive and handle our emotions.
When we teach our children, especially our daughters, that their feelings are not valid or worth listening to, we are sending a harmful message. We are teaching them to question the validity of their own emotions and to ignore or suppress them. As a counselor who specializes in somatic movement and works with women, I have seen firsthand the effects of this invalidation on the female body and psyche.
Emotions are a natural part of being human, and they need to be acknowledged and processed. When we push them down or ignore them, they don't just disappear. They get stored in our bodies, and over time, they can manifest as stiffness, chronic pain, or even disease. Our bodies are wise and interconnected, and they give us clues about what is happening within us. When we experience physical symptoms, it's often a sign that there are unresolved emotions that need our attention.
Furthermore, invalidating emotions in childhood can also impact our intimate relationships as adults. When our partners come to us with their feelings, are we able to listen and hold a safe space for them? Or do we feel the urge to turn away, deny, or sweep their emotions aside? This learned behavior of invalidating emotions can create disconnection and misunderstandings in our relationships, leading to further emotional distress.
As women, we need to do the work of validating our own emotions and those of others. It's not always easy, and it requires self-awareness and self-compassion. Personally, I have found that the journey of self-love and self-realization is a continuous process. Just when I think I have uncovered all the shadows in my heart, another trigger arises, revealing more work that needs to be done. It takes courage and resilience to face our emotions head-on, but it's necessary for our well-being and the health of our relationships.
I am grateful for the loving angels in my life who have been patient and supportive as I navigate this journey. Many of them are doing their own version of this work, and we are walking this path together. The goal is not to suppress or deny our emotions, but to acknowledge them, feel them, and express them in healthy ways. It's about embracing the full range of our emotions, both positive and negative, and allowing ourselves to experience them without judgment.
So, let's empower ourselves and our fellow sisters to validate our emotions and create a safe space for emotional expression. Let's break free from the societal norms that tell us to toughen up and instead embrace the beauty of our emotions. Let's strive for a world where emotions are honored and respected, and where love and empathy are the guiding forces in our interactions with others. The journey to self-love and self-realization may be challenging, but it's a journey worth taking. Let's embark on this path with open hearts and open minds, and let love be our ultimate goal.