In my last post (https://www.bowencollege.com/the-double-edged-sword-of-expressing-our-emotions/) we considered the shortcomings of both suppression and expression as means for dealing with emotional trauma. Today we’ll consider the third option: releasing.
Releasing is a form of non-attachment, letting-go of the issue that stirred the emotional reaction, eliminating its hold.
For example, the transition from a state of anger to one of acceptance. As therapist Byron Katie says, a state in which one stops fighting with reality, a state in which one stops seeing the world in “shoulds” or “should nots.” Reality is what it is, and we are much more productive when we do not fight with “what is.”
Much energy is wasted fighting against what is; very little positive outcome can be expected in such a struggle. The phase of positive acceptance of a situation is usually the phase that allows for positive action.
A common presumption in many schools of psychology, that suppressing emotion leads to illness, is unsupported by science. For example a person experiencing a state of overwhelm will manifest this in the right brain. If the right brain is overwhelmed, the left-brain may signal it to stop forwarding information for immediate action by the left side of the brain. This though is not suppression; it is the body’s best attempt to cope with being overwhelmed.
The ensuing desensitizing or detachment is a symptom: the expression of an over-driven left-brain coping best it can. Terminology is important; the emotions are not suppressed, they are just expressed in another way. The body will find a way to manifest them. Any state of illness, including emotional ones, will not be suppressed, just expressed in another way.