The problem with burying (suppressing) your anger (or any emotion) is that you bury it alive. It’s great when we can truly drop an upset and just let it be — the problem is when you pretend you’re letting it be, but you’re actually burying it alive. Like all good zombie movies, when it comes back (which it will) it’s a lot worse than when you buried it.
We’re guessing that if you are reading this newsletter, you’re quite clever. Sometimes, you say things like, “I’ve let it go” or “I’m not letting that bother me” or similar enlightened-sounding phrases. And sometimes that is really just dressed up suppression masquerading as acceptance.
We’re all familiar with the experience of suppressing emotions. An emotion comes up and instead of continuing to feel it, we talk ourselves out of it, deny that we even felt it in the first place, or distract ourselves. It’s one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time. Suppressing, swallowing, burying, or denying your emotions is a short term solution that usually has unpleasant repercussions. While we know this, it doesn’t stop us from doing it.
So, how do you police yourself? How do you know the difference between suppression and acceptance? When we are suppressing an emotion, essentially we are burying it alive. That emotion is still metaphorically kicking and screaming and it takes force to push it out of sight. This is something that you can become ever more sensitive to as you look for it. On the other hand, if you have truly accepted a particular situation or emotion, it fades and disappears without any struggle. It peacefully drifts out of your mind and psyche.
The suppressed emotion will come back. Like those zombie movies, it will rise again, but in an altered form and this time it will be more difficult to deal with. Emotions don’t die when we try to kill them. But they do fade away when we accept them.
To zombie free living!