“You are not going to heal if you keep pretending you are not hurt.”

How many can relate to some of these phrases: Just buck up! There’s no reason for you to be upset! Boys don’t cry! Get over it right now! Some of us may have even been told to—just shut up! The list goes on…

None of these phrases allows one to feel what they’re feeling or acknowledge the hurt. There was a lot of “forced suppression” going on in those that heard statements like those above. What is suppression? A dictionary definition of suppression is, “the act of preventing some thing from being seen or expressed.”

Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with recovery? According to Calda Clinic, “The effects of suppressed emotions include anxiety, depression, and other stress related illnesses. Such suppression can lead to alcohol and substance abuse.”

Many of us were not taught how to deal with our emotions because we were forced to push them down. Sadly, this often becomes a habitual pattern in our lives. There may be all kinds of hurts lurking underneath the surface that need expressed to heal.

We can’t pretend events in our lives didn’t hurt us if we want to heal. Once we understand that, then we need to learn how to process these in healthy and sustainable ways vs. the unhealthy coping mechanisms we often learned. Giving ourselves love and compassion vs. judgment about feeling our feelings is part of this process of recovery. Our feelings really do matter. It may feel awkward in the beginning, but the reward of doing this work is true freedom in more ways than one can imagine!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.