One of my favorite things I’ve learned about myself within the past couple of years is how much I learn from being sad and angry.
These were two emotions I suppressed for so long because I had a negative connotation of what these emotions meant and how to navigate them. I was hesitant to show them to just anyone because they are so raw, and when you don’t know how to express them in a healthy way (or people don’t know how to receive them in a healthy way) it can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and conflict. Therefore, only building your walls up even more for open vulnerability with these raw emotions.
A lot of my examples of people reacting or responding to anger or sadness consisted of throwing things, drug or alcohol abuse, gun violence, domestic abuse, verbal abuse, wrecking cars, irrational yelling to the point of blood pressure becoming dangerously high, you get the point.
Without examples of healthy expression of sadness and anger, how does one learn to express in a healthy way? As a result of lack of perspective of how healthy anger and sadness can be – I numbed myself from ever feeling them for the longest time. In fear of how people may react. In fear of how I may react.
I never gave time of day to the kids spreading rumors about me around school. I never acknowledge the name calling or bullying. I never said anything to the kid who threw food at me in the cafeteria while yelling racial slurs. I never said anything to the perverted old guys staring at me in ways they shouldn’t have. These people probably don’t even know that I recognized the ugly actions they were taking towards me. I simply numbed myself because I was afraid that if I allowed my anger or sadness to brew anywhere else but internally, I would explode and become irate like the examples I witnessed growing up. (If you’re one of those people reading this or constantly liking my stuff, yes, I remember that ish and I know who you are.)
It wasn’t until college when I realized this wasn’t a healthy way of living, but after 18+ years of tuning those emotions out it took some time to actually allow myself to fully feel them again. (Though, we can thank Grey’s Anatomy for killing of Derek Shepard and igniting a flame of sadness that still burns. RIP.)
But how sad is it that with everything I so passionately feel about life, humanity, society, and how people treat others – that I didn’t feel comfortable enough expressing it in any other form to my loved ones outside of a graduation speech, occasional essays, and my journal?
How sad is it that I numbed very vital parts of what makes my fire burn inside in fear of the repercussions of how my emotions may make someone else feel and their inability to react and respond in a healthy manner?
I feel sad for the version of me that silenced myself for years to avoid conflict.
It took some time, but knowing now how much I learn about myself and thrive with passion from the emotions of sadness and anger – I promise myself to always sit in those emotions and share them with those I love and feel safe expressing with.
Sadness and anger are beautiful emotions. They undoubtedly show what fuels us and makes us who we are. We would be no where without these emotions. Who would Martin Luther King Jr. and many other activists, inspirations for better, and leaders with love be if they didn’t express their anger and sadness? Many progressions we’ve made in life as a society would not be possible if people didn’t passionately express their sadness, anger, and frustrations.
These are not negative emotions, they are beautiful emotions. Shame on me for not understanding that sooner.
I owe major thanks to my friend Kimia. We are two completely different breeds of humans and I remember the first time I was angry with her very vividly. I didn’t say anything, but she knew and said, “it’s okay to say I made you mad and that you’re angry with me.” Which opened the flood gates of us connecting so well. Our friendship has consisted of a lot of healthy disagreements and long conversations expressing our sadness and anger to each other (whether it’s involved with our relationship or how we feel about the world). It’s been refreshing to have someone in my life who thinks differently, acts differently, and sees differently – and to be able to discuss our anger and sadness with one another with nothing but love. Kimia, more than anyone, has taught me that anger and sadness can be expressed with an immense amount of love, even when it may be hard to understand those emotions at the time.
Being able to express your emotions in a healthy way without belittling or harming others (or yourself!!) is extremely important. I cannot convey how important it is to demonstrate healthy expression to all around you – everyone needs to witness good examples. Otherwise how would they know?
This is why I believe it’s important to stop and think before you speak and say what’s on your mind. It’s important to take accountability for the way you handle your emotions and how you treat others in the process. It’s important to always lead with love and set precedent for how we should treat one another, and welcome one another to share our emotions regardless of how uplighting or heavy they may be.
Healthy expression is important, and bringing others or yourself down while doing so is not contributing to a world of love. It’s not contributing to a world of peace.
You cannot fight hate with hate. No matter how much that hatred ignites our sadness and anger. Only love will prevail.
Be the healthy example for the people that have none. We need it.
Thanks for reading.