Displaying Emotions

by Mark Ivar Myhre on August 8, 2007

A popular school of thought says you should not express your emotions. People will look down on you… they won’t want to be around you. You won’t get far in life.

There’s some truth to that. If you’re always going around with a chip on your shoulders, or always moping, or constantly whining – people WILL have a tendency to avoid you. (Except for the other whiners and mopers – they’ll want to be around you so they can look down on you!)

But these three examples (and there are countless others) have nothing to do with truly expressing emotion. In fact, they’re all examples of ways to NOT express your emotions.

If you go around acting like a ‘prickly pear’ where the slightest word or action by others brings up an extreme reaction in you, that reaction is NOT sourced in your emotion.

People who act melodramatic are not being emotional. Not in the true meaning of the word ’emotional’. Rather, they’re putting on a show. Like actors on a stage. Melodrama is ‘faking it’.

Clint Eastwood acts tough up on the stage, but from what I hear he’s a really nice man. The difference is, he’s paid well to act like a tough guy. And he KNOWS it’s an act.

So often, when you see someone acting melodramatic, they’re probably not getting paid… and they pretend they don’t even know it’s an act!

With melodrama, you’re forced to blame the situation for creating your reaction. Exploding into anger because someone cuts you off in traffic, or someone says the wrong thing at work… forces you to lie to yourself.

You MUST blame the situation. Otherwise, you’d have to look at yourself. Then you’d have to realize you’re an actor playing a part:

“I am the misunderstood one.”

“I am the one who’s always being mistreated and taken advantage of by others.”

“I’m the one who never gets a fair chance in life.”

“I’m the one who…”

What’s your story? We all write the script for how our lives go.

That’s a confronting statement. With some ugly connotations.

…unless you’re the one who’s always seeking to become more of yourself; seeking greater responsibility and greater realness. Unless you’re the one who’s always seeking to understand more about love. Unless you’re the one who’s always seeking to understand more about the world around you.

The thing is, we all have a story about our situation in this world. And it can usually be summed up in a statement or two. It’s the theme to the part you play in your life.

If it involves you being a victim in some way, then you’ll probably go around moping. If it involves you being attacked by the world, then you’ll probably go around angrily attacking anyone who looks at you wrong.

But if it involves seeking out greater love, greater understanding, greater joy to living life – then you probably won’t go around acting out in melodrama. Or if you do, you notice it; you recognize it; and you don’t lie to yourself about it.

You accept responsibility for your outburst. Or whatever your so-called ’emotional display’ involves. And you accept it’s not real emotion. It’s an act.

Sometimes I get ’emotional’ in a melodramatic way. ‘Righteous indignation’ is my drug of choice. But I know it’s an act. I’m indulging myself. It’s like eating a pint of good ice cream. I enjoy my melodrama. Because I know in a few more minutes, I’m going to get down to business; and seek the realness. For those few minutes, however, it’s fun:

“Hey, look at me! I’m Clint Eastwood!”

But as a lifestyle choice, it’s disastrous. If you believe your own lie, you become powerless; and it leads to pain and fear and separation. (Of course, you can always just release all that excess baggage.)

What’s the theme of YOUR play? You can write it anyway you want.

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