How often do we hear a negative command placed in front of an emotion such as “Don’t worry,” “Don’t stress,” “Don’t get angry,” or the always wonderful to hear, “Don’t be sad”? The truth is that for people who are struggling with an emotional response, the worst thing they can be told is not to feel it.
And yet, people often admonish their own emotions, just as much as those around them may. Humans have a unique way of carrying messages about how they should and should not feel, think and behave, all based on what someone else told them. When this happens consistently and frequently enough, a person can actually begin to have trouble identifying just what they do feel — although they may be able to describe what they “should” feel.
There can be many reasons for this. Perhaps the felt emotion is not considered socially acceptable. Or maybe the person fears the judgment of others for thinking or feeling certain things. Even worse, maybe there is the worry about retribution against expressed feelings. Whatever the reason may be, repression of emotion can lead to an entire host of problems.