Internalizing or Externalizing — that is the Question!
Suffering is traumatic and awful and we get angry and we shake our fists at the heavens and we vent and rage and weep. But in the process we discover a new tomorrow, one we never would have imagined otherwise. ~Rob Bell
I come across a lot of people who either build up a big drama around their problems or they internalize them.
It’s one thing to go around needlessly gossiping about people and wreaking verbal havoc but it’s an entirely different case to shut up like a clam instead of allowing yourself to blow off some steam.
Are You Bottling Up Your Feelings?
The ones who internalize their problems usually don’t like to ‘talk’ about people behind their back or find it inappropriate (venting about your children) or disrespectful (especially in the case of your parents) which, of course, is very noble indeed but there are certain instances where it can be appropriate, if not detrimental, to talk about your problems.
Finding Perspective amongst Guilt
No matter who is causing you distress — it’s not personal. There is often a lot of misunderstanding between a person and their actions. You may still love that person dearly but they have done something (the action) to fluff your feathers.
Holding onto the problem could cause you to like them less and less but addressing the core before it festers can give you that space to figure out your next step without losing any love for that person over it.
So, let’s get this ball rolling by addressing some potential situations.
There should be no guilt in:
Admitting that your child has done something to annoy you — it is no reflection on you as a parent or them as a child — it is what it is. You still love them but their action has caused you unease. You’re not a Stepford Wife, you know. I know the perceived ‘norm’ is to always have a smiley face and a tray of milk and cookies for your child, however, the bald-faced truth is that parenting can be overwhelming at times and you are entitled to vent about your little darlings without fear of judgment.
Discussing a problem you may have with a partner, friend or family member to someone you trust with the information as long as it comes from a place of integrity (i.e. the truth and not the dramatized version).
Talking about how you may not be coping at the moment. When you internalize this it becomes like a festering sore that causes you more and more pain until one day it pops at the most inconvenient time and you are left with a sticky mess to mop up. Even worse, you have a physical breakdown. It’s okay to talk about how you are feeling no matter how ‘dark’ you may think it is. Once you let it out of your system, you have the potential to let it go or find a solution, if not just get the support you may need.
The Lone Warrior
If you feel you can’t talk about these things or you don’t have anyone who will listen that you trust, it’s best to let it out and vent in whatever way you can.
Some healthy examples would be to:
Have a little cry (hell, even a big one!) — there’s nothing more releasing than letting your emotions out through a healthy blubber and don’t feel guilty for it! Rather feel guilty for not allowing yourself the freedom to express yourself.
Find some solitude and belt out a scream — this can also work well as long as you are not within the audible radius of a nosy neighbor.
Put on your boxing gloves and get out that punching bag — it’s a liberating feeling to blow off some steam through physical activity.
Write out your feelings and then burn the paper — this can also be an emancipating experience. When you write something down you are releasing it from your internal dialogue and unburdening the mind. Burning it is symbolic of having vented your problem and you are now ready to move on or find a solution.
Human beings are emotional. We need to express ourselves. Of course, we need to exercise a certain amount of restraint when doing this — i.e. don’t hurt anyone in the process — but there are safe ways of doing it as outlined above.
The worst thing you could do is to bottle up your feelings and wait for the cork to explode one day. You are helping nobody out, least of all yourself, when you don’t blow off some steam about your woes.
Everyone Gets to Park Off on the Lavatory Daily
Remember that old saying; when you feel intimidated by someone remember that they too need to use the toilet every day (slightly euphemized here)? Well, this concept is kind of similar. Everyone has problems, don’t think you are alone.
Everyone needs to take a dump once in a while and everyone has to face problems in their life every now and again.
To talk about it is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you can admit you are vulnerable and that your ego doesn’t have you by the short and curlies.
The ego is the thing that wants to exude an outer appearance of having it all, coping with life and just being a regular robotic superhuman. The fact is that you’re not. No-one is and it’s great!
Whoop-de-doo, we’re all messed up and we should celebrate our daftness together and not have to feel guilty about it ever again