Control has been a major part of my life and that has its benefits.
I have been intentional about my career path. I restrict who has close contact with me emotionally. I monitor how I spend my time and resources to reflect what I value most. Controlling these aspects of my life has produced the growth, relationships, and the lifestyle that I desire.
I have also exercised control over my emotions. While this prevented me from overreacting and making permanent decisions based on temporary feelings, controlling emotions prevented me from releasing them, which eventually led to my emotions controlling me.
Loudest when I laugh
When happy and joyful, I express those feelings freely. I consider laughter to be healthy, so I don’t regulate it. I release it. Anger, however, was long silenced in my life because I perceived anger to be unhealthy, and expressing it to be unproductive. Even when an emotion was appropriate for the circumstances, whatever I felt that did not resemble happiness and joy, I ignored and then denied. Anger, I stifled. The forced silence was deafening.
By attempting to control not only my expression of anger, but also the acknowledgement that I felt it, I wasn’t controlling anger, it was controlling me.
I discovered that my attempt to silence my anger only made that emotion expand, and over time, the anger grew from asking for acknowledgment to demanding expression. Until I acknowledged my anger, recognized that it was appropriate, and gave it space to exist and be expressed, its voice and influence intensified. Instead of trying to suppress my anger, I needed to release it.
Free in stillness
What are you trying to silence in your life? What memories, voices, or emotions are begging for the slightest bit of your attention? You could continue to run from the memories, ignore the voices or stifle your emotions, but consider the impact your life would have if you stopped trying to force silence and worked until you achieved stillness.
The healthiest form of silence, stillness, cannot exist in forced suppression. It exists as you learn healthy methods of expression. Don’t be afraid to work through it. Don’t give fear control of your emotional health. Don’t assume that you will not survive. Release what you may have been trying to control and you can experience the stillness of being free.
Image: Pema Rocker