A friend of mine recently told my daughter that she should marry an emotional man. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this comment, and what it means to be an emotional person. In my mother’s eyes, my maternal grandmother was overly emotional. As a child, my mother was constantly admonished not to do this or that because it might upset Mummy. Hence, she learned to discriminately control and repress her own emotions.
The reality is we are all emotional people – it’s a big part of what makes us human. It’s what we learn and choose to do with those emotions that matters. We can fight them, stuff them, deny them, ignore them or let them flow. Emotions are eager to flow like a river. They are pure expression. They are good, helpful and necessary. They are messengers. They are communication. Once they successfully convey their message, they happily dissipate. When we thwart their expression, they mutate into something less productive.
Dealing with emotions can be scary business whether the feelings are our own or those of others. Our emotions can be used as weapons or a source of shame. The skill is to allow emotions to emerge and flow in a way that is respectful of the personal boundaries of all involved. The tricky part is trusting ourselves and those we are in relationship with enough to open our floodgates. That said, I hope my daughter marries someone who is expressive and communicative, comfortable with their emotional experience and supportive of hers. I hope she marries someone who loves deeply and is deeply loved.