May 2024

When Did Expressing Our Emotions Become So Taboo?

We are often made to believe that our emotions are dramatic or invalid and as someone who is tired of this, it's time to set the record straight.

Have you ever been subject to comments such as “you’re too sensitive” or “you’re so dramatic”? Have you ever been told you take things “too seriously” and need to “calm down”? If you answered yes to these questions, I want to start off by saying that your emotions and feelings are always valid, no matter what anyone says.

As someone who is tired of being told my feelings are invalid or over the top, I thought it was time to set the record straight. No one should have the right to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel. Simple.

Not only do these labels invalidate our feelings, but they make us feel like there is something inherently wrong with us. Whether you’re a woman being told she is “too emotional” to handle a job, or a young boy being told “crying will make you less of a man”, you should never be made to feel that you must suppress your emotions to please other people.

Growing up I felt constantly labelled. I was called “an over-thinker” by boys who thought they could manipulate their way into messing me around, and “over dramatic” by friends who were unable to understand the effects of my anxiety. I felt like I could never truly express my emotions in fear of being belittled or made fun of, somehow convincing myself that my sensitive nature was something to be ashamed of.

I thought that the key to survival was to never show how you really feel, in other words, people please. Looking back now, I can’t believe the things I would say and do just because I was afraid of speaking up for myself or revealing my true thoughts. I found myself gossiping about close friends to feel more included by those I was desperate to please, and never spoke up when a situation clearly made me uncomfortable or hurt.

I remember the first party I went to where I was allowed to drink. At first, it was super fun, I had discovered a sense of freedom that I’d never felt before and felt like there were no worries in sight. But by the end of the night, I felt pressured to join in on games and behaviours I felt extremely uncomfortable with. Despite these actions being harmless to many, I felt embarrassed, humiliated, and ultimately ashamed of myself for caving into peer pressure. To my surprise, I was made to feel like my emotions were an overreaction and I was “too naïve” to expect to be treated with more respect.

It’s hard enough having to deal with being a sensitive person who takes things to heart, let alone having those feelings thrown back in your face. It’s clear to me now that you’re never going to truly “fit in” to an environment that doesn’t embrace your most authentic self. People who bring you down for simply expressing emotions that they might not be comfortable with are not your issue and instead are often a projection of their own insecurities. You should never have to settle for brushing something under the rug if it genuinely doesn’t sit right with you.

Now I’m not saying that every reaction I’ve had or will have in the future is reasonable. I’ve definitely had my fair share of temper tantrums and unnecessary breakdowns, but I now know that the times I was gaslighted and censored were not my fault. I am proud to be an emotional girl who cares deeply and tries to see the best in others, even if people might disagree.

So, the next time you find yourself uncontrollably crying into your popcorn at the movies or deciding to ask the dreaded “what are we?” question, know that your feelings are yours and nothing to be ashamed of. 

Learn more about expressing emotions here.

Did you like what you just read? Read another article by Sofia here.