The Expression Of Emotions, A Natural Human Behavior Essay

The Expression Of Emotions, A Natural Human Behavior Essay

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The expression of emotions is a natural human behavior, exhibited from birth until death. Emotions give a name to the multitude of feelings and moods that a human being will experience throughout their life. Why then, does society discourage this expression? Especially for boys, the language surrounding the expression of emotion is extremely negative: “Boys don’t cry,” “Man up,” and “Grow a pair” are just some of the phrases that have traditionally been commonplace when raising young men. Even young girls are subject to harmful opinions regarding the expression of emotions, commonly being dismissed as “melodramatic” or “overemotional.” Only recently have the academic and societal spheres begun to challenge these everyday beliefs. Certainly the regulation of emotions is paramount to success, but research now shows that the continuous repression of severely negative emotions can be harmful to an individual’s health and cognitive ability. Building emotional intelligence is paramount to avoiding these adverse effects, and therefore is it critical that children learn to identify, understand, and cope with their complex emotions.
Repression is defined as “a way to keep unwanted feelings unconscious” (Mund, Mitte 2012). There are various reasons that an individual may repress their emotions: privacy, denial, or self-defense in unsafe or unknown situations. Not all instances of emotional repression are necessarily bad for one’s health. However, chronic suppression has proven to impact an individual’s overall health. Individuals who repress and internalize their emotions may indicate outwardly that they are not anxious or stressed, but multiple studies have found that repressors’ “heart rate and skin conductance increased even above the re...


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...ion of emotional stability and knowledge for these burgeoning young adults to build upon. When we do not provide these outlets, we all suffer. Frederick Douglass said it best: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Mass shootings, domestic violence, police brutality, gang violence, war… In their own ways, these realities are all manifestations of society’s insistence on suppressing “weak” feelings and acting on “powerful” ones. Society cannot no longer neglect the emotional capacities of its children and then wonder why it is filled with individuals who cannot manage their emotions in healthy ways. Parents and educators must provide opportunities for children to fully feel and understand their emotions. Emotional intelligence must be valued with the same significance as academic intelligence. Society must learn that boys do, in fact, cry.

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