How to be Emotional and Still Keep Your Friends
You might have heard the story about the executive who arrived at work in a cloud of anger and berated her assistant, who, in turn, snapped at the innocent mail clerk, who then scattered the thirty-page report of a harried secretary, who went home and yelled at her son for wearing his ratty, ripped jeans. And as the boy stalked off, their cat chose that moment to cross his path. Big mistake!
So what do we do when we experience strong feelings? Most of us either bury them deep inside until they fester like a wound, or take them out on someone else, setting off a chain reaction until the cat is kicked. And yet “emotions help us to wake up. We have no clearer messages about what is happening in our lives. Our emotions show us where to direct our attention; rather than obscuring the path, they can clarify and sharpen it.”
Thankfully, the medical world around us is beginning to view people as whole beings rather than a collection of symptoms. Medical professionals tell us that stress, fear, and anxiety are the emotional root of most modern-day diseases. The word dis-ease tells us that something in us is not at ease. And far too often, we are satisfied to just be rid of the symptoms without taking the time to deal with the reason behind them. We’d rather take a pill.
Our emotions can be a trigger for disease, but many of us—especially women—don’t know how to properly express our feelings. As part of our design, we need to validate and express them in healthy ways to maintain optimal physical health.
The Bible says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” In other words, don’t let the sun go down without an emotional review of your day. Emotions that are stored, stuffed, or stymied will remain buried until they resurrect like zombies at the worst of times. In turn, if we let emotions fly off the tongue, we hurt ourselves and others.
Most of us wrongly divide emotions into good or bad categories, but they are neither. They are merely feelings created to allow us to use our knowledge to make thoughtful decisions, and they can wake us up if we are willing to examine them.
So how can we be emotional and still keep our friends?
We must first realize that our emotions are a gift from God. Every woman displays a unique beauty within herself, and she has the right to know that her feelings are important.
Secondly, with this knowledge, we can learn ways to express our emotions without hurting others. Here are some choices many have found helpful.
Honest Talks: Remember, your feelings are telling you something. Sharing your feelings with a trustworthy and nonjudgmental friend is a gift of high value. Her listening and honest feedback can help you grow as a person. We need to be willing to learn if we want to grow and change, but there are times we just need to let it out, ladies!
Prayer and Meditation: Some think it a luxury they cannot afford, but spending time in prayer or meditation is essential for good emotional and mental health. Time for reflection at the close of the day helps you sleep better at night. Handing over or letting go of your emotions by talking to God is a way to “not let the sun go down on your anger.”
Emotion Journaling: Let your pen express your feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong, justified or insane. I call my journaling The Be Real Diary and no one sees it but me. There are things in there that would make your jaw drop, and that’s OK.
Forgiveness: I have found this to be absolutely necessary for a whole, healed life. Forgiveness is not something we do for someone else, but something we give ourselves. Forgiveness releases us from those who cause distress, freeing us to express our emotions and allow healing to follow.
Intentional Thinking: Whatever negative feelings you have—hurtful words, fears of the future, etc., we choose what we think about, so why not choose to think on positive things? In the book of Philippians 4, Paul gives this advice:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
If we develop these habits, we can deal with the initial release of emotions, thus allowing us to communicate our feelings to others without hurting them in return. If you get overwhelmed, ask for help. Circumstances always improve when we manage our emotions in a healthy way. And we get to keep our friends!
Keep growing in grace & truth!
From the desk by the window where the coffee is hot and the day is filled with opportunities.
(c) Sept 20, 2017 – Robin Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC