What Being Emotionally Strong Really Looks Like

“Not only does expressing our big emotions help us to heal, it tells those around us that something’s not right.”

There’s nothing weak about crying…

I recently had an emotional INBURST.

An emotional inburst happens when we bottle up our big emotions, and the pain bursts inwardly…usually in an attempt to hide our big emotions from the outside world.

I don’t normally have inbursts because most days I’m hyper mindful about how I process my emotions.

If I detect pain or resistance, I get out my magnifying glass to uncover the painful story I’m telling myself. Then, I feel the pain to release it.

If I feel an urge to cry, I cry because crying is a natural way to release emotions.

This is the way we heal.

But…I was at a meeting at my daughter’s school to discuss her occasional emotional outbursts in class (of all things).

Because of my own social conditioning telling me that crying is a sign of weakness, I thought the best thing for me to do during the meeting was show no big emotion to demonstrate that Freya had an emotionally strong mother.

The problem was I could barely stifle the big emotions whirling inside of me. My whole body was tense. I felt like a pressure cooker not able to release a scintilla of steam.

I took surreptitious deep breaths to calm myself hoping no one would notice. I secretly did EFT tapping on my hands and fingers under the table so no one could see.

So there we all were…seated around a table talking about how to prevent Freya from expressing her big emotions, while I was bursting on the inside with my own.

That’s when it dawned on me…

If I want to model emotional strength in any context, I was doing it ALL WRONG.

Because the truth is modeling emotional strength means:

…Crying when you need to cry.

…Asking for a minute when you need a minute.

…Taking a deep breath when you need more air, and

…Doing things like EFT when you need to tap and not caring if others find it strange.

As the meeting wrapped up, I realized it was Freya who had been modeling emotionally healthy behavior.

She was telling us something in the classroom was triggering her and something was not right.

And by doing that, she was able to get our attention, and we were able to find ways to help her.

And since we’ve started to take a different approach with Freya, she’s been thriving at school.

So not only does expressing our big emotions help us to heal, it tells those around us that something’s not right. We need support, or we require a different approach.

This holds true for children…and adults!

My invitation for you this week is to notice if and when you’re having an emotional INBURST – where you’re holding back tears or stuffing painful emotions down deep inside.

And if you do, I invite you to:

…Cry when you need to cry.

…Ask for a minute when you need a minute.

…Deep breath when you need more air, and

…Do things like EFT tapping or whatever helps you to process a painful emotion.

And let’s release ourselves from the social conditioning that says these behaviors are weak or weird or need to be done in secret.

Because the truest path to healing is feeling. Because this is true emotional strength.

Until next Sunday, may your Soul Guide the way.

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