Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should

During the 1970's and 1980's there was a psychological movement that was so pervasive that it has created the uninhibited expressionism that we are exposed to on a daily basis. We were told how important it was for us to "express" how we felt about everything. Holding back our feelings was having negative effects on our health and our relationships. We were "suppressing" our feelings to such an extent that we could not be truly fulfilled in our lives.

Thirty years later...we see that self expression taken to the extremes and available to us 24/7 via technological advances. Anyone can say anything they want with relative anonymity in cyberspace. We can hide behind our screen name, email or blog and express our every thought and feeling. The availability to be anonymous and say what we want when we want has seeped out of the computer and into our daily lives. We have taken to expressing everything we think or feel without any thought for the repercussions. Rather than learning how to communicate in a productive and positive way, we have regressed into childish tantrums thrown out haplessly into the universe. The anonymity has lent itself to the inability to talk to someone face to face about an issue. More importantly it has given us the mistaken belief that we MUST express ourselves about whatever we think or feel.

There is a great danger in this trend that has manifested into two distinct problems. The first problem is that whatever you put out in to the universe comes back to you. The universe is a great cosmic boomerang. If you say it, think it, feel it, you have sent a message out into the world to make it true. It may not show up exactly as you thought or how you wished but it WILL show up. For instance, you will have friends who will tell you that they really want to have a relationship but they can't ever find the "right" guy/girl. They are saying that they want to meet someone, hence they will BUT if what they are really feeling is that they don't deserve a "right" guy/girl, or they don't feel good about who they are as a person, the response will be someone who isn't "right" for them.

The second problem is that saying everything you think or feel may make you feel better temporarily but it doesn't resolve the real issue. If you do not give yourself time to think about WHY you feel the way you do AND more importantly what part you play in the situation, expressing your feelings about it will be like constantly eating but still feeling hungry.

Acknowledging your feelings, thinking about why you feel the way you do and most importantly what you are doing or not doing that is helping to create this feeling, is an imperative part of your growth as a person. If you are not patient with your feelings you will never understand them.

Self-expression is a unique and wonderful part of being a human being. It is how we connect with one another and how we learn about ourselves and our world. But, just because you can express yourself at any given moment, doesn't mean you should. Next time, before you post that blog, or send that email or instant message, give yourself time to think about it and then decide whether you want to put it out into the universe.