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Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Showing Your Emotions

You don't need to be ashamed of your emotions.
IMAGE Netflix

In the endless discussions about what makes men and women different, one of the ideas that are often trotted out is that women are more emotional than men. And somewhere along the way, people just nodded and accepted it as fact. How can anyone contest that one, after all? Aren't women more maternal, more sensitive, more in touch with their emotions, more easily prone to bursting into tears? Aren't men more stoic, serious, less able to show affection or express sadness?

That's the idea that people have come to accept, and it has been the foundation of many relationship issues between men and women. But more importantly, being emotional is presented as yet another proof that women are weaker than men, showing that they are less stable, less capable of holding leadership positions, and easily carried away by what they feel that they lose all sense of logic and just do everything in our power for the ones we love.

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For instance, commenting on the alleged relationship of a female police officer with a member of a terror group, who were reportedly caught trying to rescue members of the Abu Sayyaf group in Bohol, Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said, "Weakness ng babae 'yan. Emotionally attached ka sa isang tao kahit anong request sa 'yo, gagawin mo.

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A statement like that only spreads the idea that only women are capable of performing acts borne out of love and that men will never fall prey to their emotions or become attached to anyone. But the fact is that men and women do have emotional attachments and feel the same kinds of emotions. The only difference lies in how we are socialized from a young age to express them.

For example, men are generally trained to conceal their emotions even as little boys. When a little boy is crying, it usually prompts his friends or relatives to tell him, "Wag ka nga umiyak. Para kang babae niyan eh." And so, from a young age, boys are already taught that crying is a sign of weakness, thrown in with a little lot of sexism as well by the suggestion that engaging in what is seen as "girly" behavior is demeaning and unmanly, which brings with it the underlying idea that feminine = bad and weak.

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What is considered acceptable for men, however, is emotions like anger, and acting out aggressively to express that anger is even seen as acceptable, and is explained away by saying that men just have a lot of testosterone, which makes it difficult for men to control their aggression. This isn't healthy either, because it doesn't teach men better ways to deal with their anger, and it also doesn't teach men to acknowledge and express their other emotions.

By contrast, women are generally encouraged to cry; some would say that it's even expected when the situation calls for it. They are expected to exhibit the "softer" emotions and behavior, like being caring and sensitive. And yet, as adult women, being emotional is seen as a negative, even when they are expressing anger and aggression, which are acceptable for men; in women's case, they are simply tagged as hysterical or irrational. Such comments tell women that what they are feeling is not legitimate and valid and, indeed, that they simply need to get a better grip on themselves, which basically says that they should just hide what they feel.

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To say that being emotional is limited to only one sex is just inaccurate. Who hasn't gotten excited over hearing that their favorite band is in town? Who hasn't grieved over the death of a loved one? Who hasn't been hurt or offended by insults?

Emotions are not weaknesses; they're simply part of being human.

Your emotions are not something you should be embarrassed about or something for which you should apologize—whether you're a man or a woman. And the sooner we acknowledge that both men and women can have a wide range of emotions and allow them to express what they feel without judging them for it or calling them weak, the better.

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Lynn Lopez
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted?

I have forgotten when was the last time we shared a smile - the last time when I saw the glow in your eyes and the last time when you whispered an I love you to me. I have forgotten when, but here I am - writing to you again.

I do not know if you will read this or you will just add this one to my proses and poems that you left unread, but you see, I am still hoping. I am mailing the pain of us to the gods out there - hoping they can take the pain away. I should have gotten over you, but instead of forgetting and accepting our ending, I am writing about us in tissue sheets, carving about us on trees, telling about us on the back of my journals, hoping that a thousand or a million write ups about us, can make me forget about what happened.

I am writing, waiting for the point where I can no longer write anymore, for I have none to tell - but when? I have nothing in me anymore, but the memories of us - and no matter how hard I try put those to its own grave, the memories grow back like lilies in the swamp - painful and beautiful at the same time.

No matter how hard I try to silence those and put it at the back of my mind, those ring back, playing like the favorite song we used to listen. They say heartbreaks turn into poetry and that is what happening to us - but poetry should be dulcet and dreamy, why does ours sound like pain and agony? They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted? Darling, I guess not.

Anne Luna A day ago
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