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Emotional Strength Doesn’t Come from Ignoring Your Feelings

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Going about our lives emotionlessly is robotic at best and, at worst, sociopathic.

It’s pathetic that the trope of the strong, independent woman who lacks any emotion except intense ferocity is still a thing we subscribe to at all. When strong fictional female characters on screen show compassion, lust or grief, it’s considered a “moment of weakness.”

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In our daily lives, women are constantly¬†told not to “get emotional” if we want to be taken seriously. This may be an oversimplification of the matter, but the point stands that, in our society, to show any emotion besides “determined, ambitious passion” somehow translates to weakness. And it’s bullsh*t.

A strong person can encounter an intense emotion, feel it deeply, control it, and use it as fuel to make the world a better place. The sad truth is that most people are terrified of uncomfortable feelings, both in themselves and especially in others.

Humanity is quick to dismiss an individual who exudes mental despair — only the strongest people have the compassion to run toward this type of distress and provide authentic comfort. This is rare.

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Ignoring your feelings won’t make you stronger; in fact, just the opposite. Going about our lives emotionlessly is robotic at best, and, at worst, sociopathic. Ultimately, it’s a cowardly way to live and, as science has shown repeatedly, detrimental to our health.

Your feelings are there for a reason: to act like a rudder to navigate your life. Taking time to honor them not only spares you from unexpected, messy meltdowns, but it’s also the secret to creating your truest, happiest life.

This is not to say that emotions aren’t terrifying or really, really painful to deal with at times; they absolutely are. That’s what makes so many of us run away from them in the first place. But looking at them head-on, figuring out where they originate, and using them to propel you forward takes courage.

It also takes incredible discipline to feel sometimes devastating emotions and not lose yourself in them completely — a skill most people never have the strength to develop.

This enormous scope of emotion is among the greatest gifts we have as humans. It’s way past time to stop feeling too ashamed to fully experience this very natural tool for self-discovery just because those around us are afraid.

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Dig deep. Feel what you need to feel (soberly and without hurting anyone). Use it to learn about yourself and live the life you’ll be happiest with. And don’t waste too much time on anyone who’s still afraid of tears or anger. Just don’t let them convince you that you’re the weak one.

This guest article originally appeared on Being Emotionally Strong Doesn’t Mean Ignoring Your Feelings.

Emotional Strength Doesn’t Come from Ignoring Your Feelings

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Emotional Strength Doesn’t Come from Ignoring Your Feelings. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 31 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.