Sometimes I receive emails or text messages that have a “send-this-to-10-people-or-something-bad-will-happen” message attached. In fact I am surprised that intelligent people even send them! Take this one I got yesterday:
A strong person knows how to keep their life in order. Even with tears in their eyes, they still manage to say “I’m OK” with a smile. Send this to a strong person. I just did. Change is coming. Karma saw your sadness and said hard times are over. If you believe, send this to ten people including me. Watch what happens in 30 minutes! Be honest and send this 2 anyone who made u smile this year. It may surprise you how many you get back. xx
OK so my normal response to receiving these is to hit delete before I even finish reading. However this one annoyed me. Why? Well I’m glad you asked....
What really bugs me is the idea that strength of character is related to the non-expression of emotion, albeit unpleasant emotion. Where did this idea come from? This idea that ‘suppress your emotions, live in denial, big boys don’t cry’ theme only reinforces unhelpful mindsets that will mess with our heads. And the connection between keeping your life in order and not expressing emotion – where did this come from? And why are some people sending message like this?
Apart from the fact I don’t believe in the karma promised that by emailing 10 people will somehow make my problems disappear, I accept and respect that some people may believe there is a special magic in sending such an email message. Not me though.
I fully acknowledge that it’s the inappropriate expression of emotion that causes trouble. But the answer is not to suppress it. The answer is to learn to express it – appropriately! That’s a whole area of learned skill we all have to learn (or not). In fact that's my definition of strength - a person who can express their emotion appropriately.
I also concede that sometimes people choose not to share their emotion for reasons of confidentiality. Of course that’s encouraged. But to say that a strong person is one who says they’re OK when they’re not, and that this behaviour is somehow akin to keeping your life in order is, in a word, or two words actually... absolute crap.
So there. There’s a rant for you! Anyone agree? Or not?