I have these glass water bottles that have been quite durable. Please note that my toddler has chunked them across the room and they have not broken before. Then, one Sunday morning, I set the bottle down on the floor by my seat and I heard it crack. I jumped up quickly and noticed a slight leak. By the time I got to the trash can, the bottom had shattered. Water spewed out from all the pressure that had built up.
In some ways, we are like the glass water bottle and our emotions are the water. It is not uncommon to bottle up uncomfortable emotions and avoid confrontation. We can be durable and sturdy on most days. Then break when we least expect it. Maybe the emotions slowly spill at first, but eventually the bottom falls out and we lose control.
If you’ve noticed that you’ve kept things bottled up to yourself, you may benefit from learning alternatives address emotions rather than neglect them.
Identify your emotion
What is it that you are feeling? Many times we say we feel a certain way, only for that to actually be a thought or perception. Example: “I feel like he is really being mean,” is a perception of someone’s action. Therefore, it could look more like, “I thought he was being mean when he called me names and I felt hurt.”
Explore what lead to the emotion
As stated above, you were feeling hurt. Previous to feeling hurt, there was a situation occurring. Start with your senses. What did you hear? What did you see happening?
Articulate your emotion and your need
Speaking for yourself is a skill that can be effective in a variety of situations. Identifying your emotion, noticing what was happening leading up to your emotional reaction, and expressing what you need can be helpful. Tell someone, maybe even the person that was involved in creating the environment, and share what could help you in the future.
Emotions are tough. We don’t have to work harder to take care of our emotional health, just smarter. There is only so much emotion we can bottle up before the top busts off or we crack. Be prepared and address your emotions before they surprise you and spill out when you least expect it.
Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have questions about our therapeutic services or would like to schedule an appointment.