Even in the best of times, sharing feelings with others is not an easy task for people of either sex — but it’s necessary in the world of relationships.
The expression of emotions presents a complicated set of experiences for men and women alike.
On the one hand we are led to believe that it’s easier for women to be vulnerable and express their emotions, and harder for men.
On face value this may be true, but if we take a closer look our society has made it difficult for either gender to just come and say, This or that hurt, or, That situation scared me.
We are all quite preprogrammed from our childhood to be true to the family system and take life as it comes — or as Sinatra sings, pick myself up and get back in the race, for that’s life. In short, to not express feelings at all.
But on closer examination what we have come to realize is that without this vulnerable expression of feeling we live a lonely life: Never really being seen, never really being known, in essence living a half life. That is a breeding ground for depression and heartache.
Start by expressing an emotion — this is the best way of relating intimately with another person. We all know this is not easy. Say, for example, that you are feeling emotional pain. Perhaps you could simply say, This situation is upsetting. At least you are in the ballpark and you are beginning to find the language that demonstrates the emergence of a true feeling.
Another example: If a situation brought up feelings of loneliness for you, perhaps you could say, This was really hard to bear or hard to cope with. Once again you are risking revealing an emotional state, but in your own way. This is good. If you can tap into “feeling language” all the better, but this is a good start.