Expressing Emotions in Public: A Cry for Authenticity and Courage

Dr. Nikki Cohen Debunking Expressing Emotions in Public: A Cry for Authenticity and Courage San Diego

Expressing Emotions in Public: A Cry for Authenticity and Courage


The Paradox of Emotion Suppression: Why are Tears Feared?


When you find yourself on the verge of tears in a public place, a whirlwind of emotions likely sweeps over you. Absolute embarrassment, shame, or even fear could grip your heart and wrestle your forthcoming tears back into the hidden depths. We've been conditioned by societal norms to suppress our emotions, especially in public. We're often told to withhold our tears, wait for a more 'appropriate' time or space, or even worse, we're taught that it's a sign of immaturity or weakness to cry at all. And it's not surprising if you've found yourself trapped in this cage of emotional suppression, a cage I was confined to for the longest time.


Awakening to the Transformative Power of Expressing Emotions


In my journey of emotional self-discovery, I've uncovered the immense power and benefit that expressing emotions can yield, not just for me but for everyone around me. 


A personal anecdote comes to mind. Recently, during a heartfelt conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee, our talk veered toward deep-seated concerns and fears. As we navigated these emotional waters, she began to cry. However, instead of allowing her tears to flow freely, she caught herself and stammered, "Oh boy, here I am, crying in public," as if it were an unpardonable act. 


Emotional Suppression: An Unspoken Rule of Adulthood


This incident made me reflect. It appears as if reaching adulthood demands a forfeiture of emotional expression, especially in public. The fear of making others uncomfortable often handcuffs our emotional freedom. This is strikingly evident in the narratives of the mothers I work with. They express fear of crying in front of their children, not wanting to upset them with their own sadness. But isn't this approach inherently teaching children an unrealistic narrative? That their mothers, and by extension all adults, are unflappable and invincible? 


A Paradigm Shift: Embracing Vulnerability and Authenticity


In this world filled with societal norms and expectations, it's all too easy for us to find ourselves trapped within invisible boundaries. These constraints often force us to hide the very essence of our human nature - our authentic emotions. We tend to veil our sadness, frustration, and anger, tucking them neatly out of sight in an attempt to maintain an image of poise and strength. This is usually done in an effort to avoid causing discomfort or unease to others around us.


But what if we chose to break free from these self-imposed shackles? What if we decided to stop curtailing our emotional expression and instead let our emotions flow freely as they come? This act of emotional honesty wouldn't just be a personal liberation, but it could potentially usher in a cultural shift in how emotions are perceived and treated in public spaces.


Emotions are not just internal experiences; they are a universal language that connects us all. By allowing ourselves to express our emotions openly, we're not just being authentic; we're also fostering a connection with those around us. When you cry openly, when you express your frustration or anger publicly, you are communicating your internal state with those around you. And in doing so, you are effectively opening a dialogue about emotions and how they are an integral part of our shared human experience.


Now, consider the ripple effect of such a courageous act. Your unabashed display of emotions - your vulnerability in its rawest form - can serve as a beacon for others. It can inspire those who witness it to shed their own emotional masks and embrace their genuine feelings. 


Imagine someone seeing you cry or express your anger freely, and instead of feeling discomfort, they feel a sense of resonance, a sense of relief even. This recognition might empower them to confront their own pent-up emotions and provide them with the courage to express these emotions openly, just as they witnessed you do.


Your brave step towards emotional authenticity could be the catalyst that helps shift societal norms, where people start embracing vulnerability and authenticity instead of shying away from them. This shift could lead to a more empathetic society that not only acknowledges but also respects the full spectrum of human emotions. 


Embracing our emotions publicly might seem like a small step, but its impact can be monumental, setting off a domino effect that could change the emotional landscape of our societies. It's a paradigm shift that starts with our willingness to be vulnerable and authentic in expressing our emotions, no matter where we are or who we're with.

A Vision for Emotional Freedom: Gratitude versus Shame


We live in a society where the expression of certain emotions, particularly tears and anger, are often met with reactions ranging from discomfort to outright shame. This societal response fosters a culture of emotional suppression and disconnection, where authentic human experiences are veiled under the pretense of maintaining societal decorum. But, can we dare to envision a different reality? 


Imagine a world where every tear shed is viewed as a testament to human resilience, a symbol of emotional honesty, and, therefore, met with gratitude. Visualize a society where anger is not immediately categorized as an explosive and negative emotion but instead recognized as a natural human response to perceived wrongs and, thereby, respected.


In this imagined world, every emotional expression, regardless of its nature, is greeted with understanding and acceptance. Here, emotions are not assigned labels of 'positive' or 'negative.' Instead, they are seen for what they truly are: intricate parts of the human experience that deserve to be felt and expressed fully. 


Such a paradigm shift might seem radical, and admittedly, it won't occur overnight. It requires a substantial shift in societal norms, attitudes, and beliefs. However, this transformation is not only possible, but it is within our reach.


It Begins With You


The journey towards a world where emotions are met with gratitude instead of shame begins with you, the individual. It starts with how you choose to perceive, handle, and express your emotions. Each time you allow yourself to be emotionally honest and vulnerable, you're taking a step towards this vision. 


When you choose to express your emotions without fear of judgment or shame, you're setting a powerful example for those around you. You're communicating the value of emotional honesty and encouraging others to do the same. 


This ripple effect of emotional authenticity and acceptance can gradually influence societal norms. By acknowledging your emotions, allowing yourself to feel them, and expressing them openly, you're embodying the change we need to shift towards a more empathetic and emotionally honest society.


As individuals collectively embrace this new perspective, we can start to see a shift in societal attitudes. The seemingly radical vision of a world where our tears and anger are held in gratitude rather than shame then becomes a reachable reality. 


This emotional revolution, the transformation from a society of emotional suppression to one of emotional freedom, starts with a single step. And that step begins with you. By embracing our emotions with understanding and gratitude, we take the first steps towards creating a world where emotional honesty is the norm rather than the exception.



Personal Journey: Embracing Your Wholeness through Visceral Manipulation 


Allow me to assure you that there's absolutely nothing wrong with having an emotional moment in a café, at the park, or anywhere else. When you embrace your whole self, your range of emotions, and your experiences without any feelings of shame or embarrassment, it's a powerfully beautiful act.

In my journey towards emotional authenticity, I found a surprising ally in an unconventional form of therapy called visceral manipulation. This gentle form of manual therapy aids in releasing physical and emotional tension stored in the body's visceral system. 


Just as it's normal to have an emotional moment in a café, at the park, or anywhere else, it's also completely normal to seek help in processing these emotions. Through visceral manipulation, I learned how closely linked our physical and emotional health are.


Accepting and honoring who you are in any given moment makes you unstoppable and leads to a healthier emotional and mental state. It's the path to self-love.


A Challenge to Embrace Authentic Self-Love 


The journey to authenticity and emotional freedom is steeped in self-love. But the journey towards self-love isn't always an easy one, especially in a society that often conditions us to judge and critique ourselves harshly. Fortunately, there are tools we can use to help facilitate this journey, one of which is the practice of visceral manipulation therapy. This form of therapy involves gentle manual pressure that aids in releasing restrictions in the visceral system to encourage normal movement and function, which in turn can alleviate physical and emotional stress.


Are you prepared to be vulnerable enough to love and accept yourself in all your emotional complexity? This involves welcoming every aspect of your emotions, whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable, acceptable or not as per societal norms. With the aid of visceral manipulation therapy, you can better tune into your body's internal landscape and its intricate connection to your emotional well-being. By doing so, it becomes easier to embrace the full range of your human experience - the tears, the laughter, the anger, the joy, the sorrow - and acknowledge each of these emotions as valid and important.


Being able to sit with your emotions, to understand them without judgement, is an act of profound self-love. Visceral manipulation therapy can help in this regard by fostering a stronger body-mind connection, enabling you to better sense and process your emotional states. 


Can you accept yourself exactly as you are, and exactly as you are not? This entails the acceptance of your perceived flaws and imperfections, alongside your strengths and virtues. Visceral manipulation therapy, by facilitating physical and emotional release, can help cultivate a space for such self-acceptance, creating a supportive environment for you to love and accept your whole self.


This journey towards authenticity and self-love certainly demands courage. It calls for the courage to break away from societal expectations of emotional suppression, the courage to confront and accept your true emotional self, and the courage to express your emotions freely. With the help of visceral manipulation therapy, you can gather the strength and resilience needed to face these challenges. The therapy offers a safe space to express and release suppressed emotions, to confront your emotional reality, and ultimately, to empower your journey towards self-love and emotional freedom.


So, as you embark on this journey, may you find the strength to be authentic, the courage to be vulnerable, and the compassion to love yourself unconditionally, in all your beautiful emotional complexity. And may visceral manipulation therapy serve as a supportive tool, aiding you in unraveling your emotional layers, and guiding you towards a profound sense of self-love and acceptance.


Redefining Strength: Authenticity and Vulnerability


Traditional narratives often paint a picture of strength as synonymous with stoicism and emotional detachment. In this age-old perspective, displaying emotions, particularly those like sadness or anger, is often misconstrued as a sign of weakness. However, this narrow definition of strength overlooks the immense power and resilience that underlies emotional expression and vulnerability. It's time we redefine this notion of strength.


Authenticity and vulnerability stand as the new pillars of strength. These elements might seem contrary to the conventional understanding of what it means to be strong, but upon closer inspection, their inherent power becomes apparent.


The Power of Authenticity 


Authenticity means staying true to yourself and your emotions, regardless of external circumstances or societal expectations. It's about expressing your feelings as they are, not as others might want them to be. When you're authentic, you honor your emotions by giving them a voice and space to exist.


This openness and honesty with oneself require immense strength. It's far easier to wear a mask of pretend happiness than it is to admit, "I'm hurting." To be authentic, you have to have the courage to face your emotions head-on, even when they're painful or uncomfortable.


The Courage in Vulnerability


Vulnerability, on the other hand, is about allowing others to see your authentic self, emotions, and all. It involves opening up about your feelings without the fear of being judged or criticized. 


To be vulnerable is to say, "This is who I am, these are my feelings, and I am not ashamed." There's immense courage in such exposure. It's a brave act of letting down your guard and inviting others to witness your true self in moments of joy, anger, or sorrow alike.


Strength in Emotional Honesty


Your emotions, your tears, and your anger are an integral part of your human experience. They're not signs of weakness but testaments to your human resilience and capacity to feel deeply. By openly expressing these emotions, you're acknowledging their existence and giving them the validation they deserve.


The strength in this form of emotional honesty lies in its capacity to shatter the chains of emotional suppression. It breaks free from the confines of societal expectations and embraces the full spectrum of human emotions. This act of emotional courage sends a powerful message: it's okay to feel, it's okay to cry, and it's okay to be angry. 


Redefining strength as a blend of authenticity and vulnerability allows for a more inclusive and compassionate perspective. It recognizes that every emotion we experience, be it joy, sadness, anger, or frustration, contributes to our overall strength. It's not about putting on a brave face, but about having the courage to show your true face to the world, emotions and all. This, in its essence, is the true definition of strength.


The Courage to be Vulnerable, The Strength to be Authentic


As we embark on the courageous journey of embracing our emotions, we are not only redefining our personal narratives but also shifting societal perceptions of emotional expression. Our authenticity will pave the way for a more empathetic world, where tears are seen as symbols of strength, and vulnerability is viewed as an act of bravery. It may take time, but this change can and will happen, starting with you and me. Let's tear down the walls of emotional suppression and allow our feelings to breathe freely, reshaping our world one tear at a time.

Dr. Nikki Cohen, PT, DPT

San Diego Pelvic Floor Therapist

Serving La Mesa, Little Italy, and Ocean Beach

San Diego, CA 92115

📧 [email protected]

📞 (818) 606-6717

Schedule your consultation today: Call (818) 606-6717 or email [email protected]