December 14, 2021

The (self) restriction of expressing feelings

In general, we humans tend to set obstacles, giving ourselves a hard time. We overanalyze situations, dive into a chaotic vortex of thoughts, dramatize events, and, finally, drown in a spoonful of water. We end up not expressing what we want and not doing what we wish, guided by unnecessary precautions and fear, limited by unnecessary commitments. Distinctive is the difficulty in expressing emotions. We blame ourselves for whether or not someone felt love, interest, compassion, emotion, dislike, and by no means do we say so. We pretend, at first, that emotions do not exist, and if they do, we hide them. We wear icy masks and distance ourselves, disturbed by the universality of emotions. We play theater with an audience of others, but especially ourselves. We abuse the titles of "unmoved", "unconscious", "hard", fearing that our diffusion and sensitivity will not be judged. Lost in translation, we lost the meaning of the original.

How many times we didn’t dare to tell a person that we love them? That we want them in our lives? That we miss them? Motivated by some vague hesitation about the 'big (and true) words', we rush in panic at hints, in pretended indifference, procrastination, or, even worse, we walk away frightened by our own need for emotion. Undoubtedly, actions represent more than just words. However, this does not mean that words, especially when they externalize our emotional world, are negligible. After all, is there anything more beautiful than telling your people that you love them and proving it to them in practice? Hardly. 'You would be scared if you knew how much I loved you', sing Haris and Panos Katsimichas, and I reasonably wonder, on the other hand, what do we gain when we keep this 'scary’ and torrent of love hidden.

Still, the inability to express our true opinions, emphasize what bothers or displeases us, and react fixes us in dead ends, and we remain doomed to compromises, mediocre stalemates, and toxic relationships. We 'gargle' our emotions and hurt ourselves in this way. We diligently and hastily hide the problems under the rug and turn into helpless, disinterested, condescending people and, in the end, insincere and phobic. In another case, we deprive ourselves of the atonement offered by the simplest 'apology' and admission of our mistake. Manipulated by an inexplicable egoism that feeds daily on the society of propriety, we stubbornly stick to our positions, even if we know we are wrong or we hurt others. We do not give ourselves and our fellow human beings the opportunity for forgiveness and redemptive restoration of relationships, just so as not to 'throw our faces'. In the game of selfishness, whoever wins, loses.

Lastly, unbelievable is the difficulty we face in addressing a compliment, a good word. It seems incomparably easier for us to criticize and comment on the honest and selfless expression of applause and admiration for external or (and above all) internal characteristics of our fellow human beings. We downplay its importance and omit it, out of embarrassment or shame, forgetting that a positive note, as subtle as it may be, can significantly improve another person's mood, alleviate their problems, and lift their morale. Compliment others, it's free.

In a nutshell, as a result of many factors, our freedom is very important to be limited, thus, voluntarily imprisoning our emotions. Life is too short not to be hugged tightly, not to say what overwhelms us, not to rebel (and not to eat what we want). Let us not forget the spontaneity and humanity of our nature, adopting non-existent obstacles that the society of alienation insidiously places.

Feel it, say it and show it

Translated by Chrysa Toliopoulou, Reviewed by Kiriaki Arnaouti

Photography by Sotiris Stamatiou & Simeon Maniatis

Efi Haideftou

She studies Law, planning to smite crime somewhere, somehow (a daydreamer by nature). Give her beers, trips and shouting her head off in concerts, in exchange for her soul. Then, give it back to her, though, because she doesn’t like losing her stuff. She talks constantly and loves meeting people.

Chrysoula Toliopoulou (she/her)

A 21 year old optimist who is constantly striving to improve herself. I live by travelling, looking at the sky and observing my surroundings. Nature and space enthusiast, with grand affection towards the environment and any form of art but especially music! Gaining courage by volunteering and petting dogs! Also learning foreign languages in my free time but still struggle to communicate with people sometimes.

Kiriaki Arnaouti (she/they)

Born a Drama queen, both literally and figuratively. Her mind is constantly switching back and forth between Greek, English and Spanish but her heart is set on two things only; iced coffee and books. Her Sagittarius nature convinces her that she’s the funniest person alive, but that’s for you to discover!

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