You know those days that just aren’t going right and someone asks how you are and you say “good” or “fine.” You know you are lying through your teeth, but it just seems like the right thing to say. This week, May 5 – 11, 2014, is Canadian Mental Health Awareness Week and the hesitancy for us to share our emotions and be honest is what the campaign is targeting. Emotions are very personal and how we feel or interpret something is unique to every one of us. Many people struggle to interpret their own emotions which can make sharing them with others extremely difficult. There is a certain vulnerability that comes with being able to share how we feel. It is kind of like placing your heart on a platter and hoping your loved ones won’t squish it.
Society has done a great job of minimizing the range of emotions human beings have. It seems that we have been given permission to either be happy (or any other similar positive emotion) or angry. There is a whole spectrum of emotion we experience that don’t fall into happy or angry. This societal pressure can influence whether or not we identify feeling other emotions, such as hurt, sadness, and loneliness, and whether or not we feel comfortable sharing theses deeper feelings.
If we are able to share our feelings with people we love and trust, how might that affect our overall well-being? If we are able to share our feelings, it helps us to let go of the burden. We are getting our stresses and the negativity out rather than letting it sit and build up. I would like to challenge you to be honest next time someone asks how you are. You don’t have to share your life story or the stresses you are facing, that is your choice, but it can be okay to say “you know, I’m having a tough day today, hopefully tomorrow will be better.” Imagine how being truthful might lift some of the stresses you are handling as well as strengthen the bond you have with your loved ones.