3 Reasons Talking about Your Feelings is Helpful
If avoiding painful feelings does not help, then talking about things might.
Expressing emotions helps in several specific, practical ways:
1) Whether we know it or not, we use energy to keep painful feelings down below the level of our conscious awareness. When we are tired or hungry, our energy goes down. It turn, we have less energy to stay patient, tolerant and keep suppressed emotions inside. When we express our feelings, the energy that was wasted in keeping them buried becomes available for more productive purposes.
2) When we conceal and suppress emotions, we set up a conflict between the part of us that seeks relief from the silent, internal pressures of our emotional lives, and the part of us that seeks to prevent the humiliating exposure of these “weaknesses”. This is not an intra-psychic conflict between the ego and the super-ego, this is a war between two goals that are mutually exclusive: avoidance and expression. One of them has to go. When we talk things out, the conflict becomes irrelevant; the war with ourselves is over.
3) We conceal our emotions because we fear the potentially devastating consequences if we express them. We may imagine that we can wall off the negative aspects of our existence while letting the positive emotions run free. It doesn’t work that way. The wall that we build is not selective. It blocks the good feelings as well as the bad. After a while, we feel “numb”. We have lost sight of the qualities that make us human, that makes our lives worth living. When we talk, we create a hole in the wall and we let in some air and light. Over time, the wall begins to crumble.