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Ehi Agbashi: You, Your Emotions & Your Feelings Are Valid

Do not suppress your emotions to make other people happy. If you feel sad, cry and let it out. If you feel overwhelmed, take the break you need and focus on yourself. If you experience loss, please allow yourself to grieve.
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Stop telling people to “man up” when they get emotional and stop telling them to be the “bigger person” when they want to react.

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Ehi Agbashi“Your score on the hostility scale is really disturbing, and I want us to talk about it.” These were the words my therapist blurted out as I tried to understand what was happening around me. It was an extremely cold Thursday afternoon. February 23, 2017, to be precise. I knew I had lost it completely. If I didn’t seek help immediately, I wouldn’t have made it beyond that week.

I walked into the counselling centre and made an appointment for that same day. I told them it was an emergency, and I think I looked it at that point in time. By 2:30 PM I walked in, and for the first time ever I was talking to someone about my actual problems (I mean, I couldn’t even talk because I was so overwhelmed by various emotions I had buried for over 10 years).

After a whole outburst, my therapist then went on to say, “Hostility doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means you have a lot of repressed emotions deep down and they are breaking you down.” For once I didn’t try to deny my feelings. They were out in the open, and I had reached a point where I could no longer run away or hide from them. (I mean, I didn’t talk to my roommate for two weeks, not even a good morning. That was how bad my situation had gotten, because I had suppressed so much and hit rock bottom and could only show extreme emotions. I was either randomly breaking down in class or going straight to bed.)

I had always been the cheerful goal getter who had plans and achieved them. I hardly argued with people because I had an angry side I didn’t want people to see. And it was easier to just snub them or cut them off if they lingered too long. I never showed sweet emotions because I believed they made me weak, and when there was a problem in the group I was the person who kept her emotions strong and in check, so that the group had one strong person to look up to.

Recently I saw a friend’s tweet which said: “Most of us in this generation act like we don’t get hurt, we hide it behind our I don’t care attitude, which is eventually going to hurt us.” Never had I related to a tweet on such personal level.

I wrote about how we need to learn how to deal with failure, and I think knowing how to react emotionally is a huge part of this journey. There are people who bury their grief and sadness in order to appear perfect. There are those who bury their anger in order to gain acceptance. And there are those burying their fears and sorrows so they are not viewed as weak. Some people share their pain, and in response get told they are too sensitive, or should keep things to themselves, and I am here to remind every single person that: it is okay to share your feelings. If someone annoys you, tell them how you feel. Do not suppress your emotions to make other people happy. If you feel sad, cry and let it out. If you feel overwhelmed, take the break you need and focus on yourself. If you experience loss, please allow yourself to grieve.

Allow yourself to heal in your own way, allow yourself to experience emotions in a healthy manner. If you feel you can’t handle your emotions or whatever experience you are going through, I am here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay to reach out and seek help. Some of us at the other end will pull you through, guide you and support you. Your emotions are valid, your experiences are valid, your feelings are valid, and you should never let anyone or even the society tell you otherwise.

Side note: Stop telling people to “man up” when they get emotional and stop telling them to be the “bigger person” when they want to react.

Ehi Agbashi is a quiet and upbeat young lady who graduated with a double major in psychology and biology. She’s passionate about social justice issues, mental health (going to graduate school for clinical counselling) and ethnocultural empathy. She loves sci-fi movies, reading African fiction and exploring new cities. IG:@kyautaa Twitter: @kyaauta.

6 Comments

  1. Maryam

    April 21, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Please can I have your e-mail address, mine is [email protected].I can relate to this piece.

    2
  2. Tochukwu

    April 22, 2019 at 12:43 am

    I feel every human one way or another connects with talks of suppressed emotions and feelings. I like that people are getting to understand that we shouldn’t be ashamed to let our feelings known.

    2
  3. Funmto

    April 22, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Such an amazing piece, Ehi. It’s so important for people to understand that their emotions are valid and showing emotions does not make you weak.

    2
  4. Nnenna

    April 22, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    I just want to say I’ve read this over again and can’t get enough.. I’m happy you put this out here for us, imagine the awareness you’ve created by just sharing this piece of information that’s valid af!!! I relate to this on a 100 💯 level and I’m working on myself to learn to express myself and show my emotions because it is valid too.

    2
  5. Abiakam

    April 22, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I believe emotions make us who we are. Suppressing them is like suppressing who we are supposed to be. I could cry if I feel sad and I’ll feel amazing afterwards because I let all that negative energy out. This is beautiful, Ehi. I wish more people would read this

    2
  6. Ize

    April 26, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    This cannot be overemphasised! Thank you!

    1

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