Wouldn’t it be great if we could pick and choose which emotions we and just shut off, whether temporarily or for life? The minute an emotion is too overpowering we could just shut it off and go about our day. Unfortunately, as humans we cannot do that. We are meant to feel all emotions as a part of life. With practice, we can learn how to manage and express our emotions.
There are cases when people have attempted to shut off some of their emotions because they are too overwhelming to experience. The issue with trying to shut off or numb one or two emotions is that it could lead to numbing all your emotions. You can’t pick and choose which emotions you are going to numb. If you numb sadness and hurt (through whatever means), you are going numb all of you other emotions, including happiness and joy. Another issue with numbing emotions is that it is temporary. As soon as whatever method to shut off the emotions stops, those overwhelming feelings come right back. In some cases, they can back even stronger. This can lead to a cycle becoming dependent on temporary methods. There are multiple ways of people to try to numb their emotions. My personal favorites were, and sometimes still are, overworking myself and detaching from everything and everyone. I wrote about overworking myself and detaching through isolation in these posts: Unhealthy vs Healthy Coping Mechanisms and The Queen of Overworking Herself is Trying to Give Up Her Crown.
To most people I seem like a reserved person who do not express emotions a lot. In reality, every since I was a child I always have felt intense emotions. Feeling intense happiness was fine but feeling intense hurt and sadness was too overpowering. When I was younger, I did not know what to do with all of it. Sometimes I felt like I was going to explode. After a while I started to unconsciously detach from my emotions. Detaching from them seemed like the only way I could function and get work done. The main problem was that while detaching from sadness and hurt, I was also detaching from happiness, excitement, etc. I remember I went through periods where I did not feel any emotions, I was just doing activities. Between my junior and senior years of college, I realized that detaching from my emotions was not effective for me. Slowly, with the help of a therapist and other resources, I started to work on constructively expressing and coping with my emotions. Through my journey of healing, I have found that I still feel my emotions at an intense level but now I have methods I can use to manage them. You can read about them here: Self-Care. I have accepted that I can’t shut them off. There are still plenty of times where my emotions are just too much, but I try to be patient with myself and dive into self-care.
Time to Focus on You:
Learning how to deal and cope with sadness, hurt, etc can lead to not feeling overwhelmed by these emotions. When you can manage, not ignore these feelings, you can experience happiness and joy. The emotions may never fully be gone forever, because we are humans, but at least overtime they may not be as powerful.
Photo by Руслан Гамзалиев on Unsplash