The Consequences of Bottling Emotions

Peter Bregman | Leading with Emotional Courage

We’re often tempted to suppress negative emotions because we’re afraid that acknowledging them, even just to ourselves, might overwhelm us or lead us to acting in a way that we would later regret. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Preview

“Know what you’re feeling. Really developing your awareness is super important. Imagine for a moment that you’re in the middle of sharing a presentation and your team leader interrupts you, tells you that your idea is bad and proceeds to tell everyone how they would do it. Likely you’re going to feel some anger, frustration, embarrassment, distrust, or really all of these at the same time and you would be completely entitled to these feelings. The question is, what would you do next? We are not purely logical creatures. Every decision you make is affected by your feelings, whether you’re aware of them or not. When you aren’t aware of your feelings, you run a much higher risk of making bad decisions in the moment and in the long term reacting in an impulsive way. The emotions you hide, maybe you don’t even know that you’re feeling them. They act as a force to secretly control you.

 

Unfortunately, we’re often tempted to suppress those feelings because we’re afraid that even simply acknowledging them, even just to ourselves, might overwhelm us or lead us to acting in a way that we would lay to regret, but in fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s very likely that your resistance to feeling your emotions is what actually leads you susceptible to acting in a way that you would later regret. While this may sound straight forward, it’s not easy. Simply being willing to acknowledge a feeling can take a lot of courage. Now remember my question at the beginning. You’re in the middle of sharing a presentation. Your team leader interrupts you, tells you that your idea is bad and proceeds to tell everyone else how they would do it better. What would you…”