Katie McKenna column

“So I woke up late this morning! I didn’t have time to do my hair, and I almost got kicked out of class for being late. I was so embarrassed.”

“I went on this date with this guy last week. It was so fun, but he hasn’t called me back. It makes me feel lonely.”

“I don’t want to go to this party. Guys, I don’t want to be here. I’m uncomfortable.”

If you were to hear someone talking like this, you would think he or she were needy and exhausting.

This is so wrong.

Expressing our emotions should not be cause for judgment from others.

When we were little, tears flowed often.

We cried when we got hurt, we cried when someone was mean to us and we cried when we got in trouble.

And people told us to stop crying.

All our lives, people have told us to stop crying, calm down and basically hide all negative emotions.

And from these experiences, we have developed the idea that showing we are sad or frustrated is a bad thing.

Emotions make us human.

Emotions make us alive. They enable us to call for help.

So why should we believe that our best tool for communicating makes us weak?

When we refuse to cry or show that we are hurt, we deny the offender a chance to rectify what they have done.

While I understand the belief that crying is weak, why should we stop ourselves from expressing exactly what we are feeling when we are feeling it?

Ignoring emotions can cause significant damage.

Anne Frank said, “Feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.”

When I was 16, my father had a heart attack.

My first reaction was to not cry and seem strong.

I didn’t want to show people that it was affecting me. So I didn’t cry. I told people I was fine.

I held in my emotions and buried myself in helping my family.

Once my Dad was back to work and my family was back at school, I realized that I had never dealt with my feelings.

When I was finally alone with myself, my emotions began to tear me apart, and I struggled with feelings of depression for several months, all because I refused to cry when I needed to. Emotions are our way of signaling for help.

If someone trusts you with how they are feeling, don’t brush them aside or trivialize their feelings.

If someone tells you they are angry, believe that they are angry. Do not tell them to calm down.

If someone is uncomfortable, trust that they are uncomfortable, and help them change their situation.

We often do not have control over our emotions when they first happen. They are reactions based on the situations around us.

If someone tells you they are sad or depressed, do not tell them to just be happy.

It does not work like that.

We should all take steps to show that we care when someone expresses his or her emotions.

We should empathize and try to understand where they are coming from, even though we may not.

Emotions do not make us weak. Showing emotion shows strength.