Photo of five small blocks, each with a different face emoji to show different emotions

“Intellectualizing emotions is a defense mechanism that serves as a shield against the overwhelming intensity of feelings. It’s the process of suppressing emotions by overthinking, analyzing, or explaining them away.” – Psychology Today, 12/15/23

There can be a thin line between healthy emotional regulations and losing touch with our emotions. When we use vague or overly intellectual language or conceptual words or metaphors instead of plain English to describe our state, we run the risk of distancing ourselves from our emotions, diminishing our clarity around our inner life. If we treat our emotions as problems, we will think of them as problems instead of the messages that truly they are. Never shoot the messenger! Master your emotions, seek out their root causes, come to understand them but never deny or fear them.

I often think of having a board of advisors sitting inside my head. Interestingly enough, one valued member is a 5-year-old child who has not yet learned to censor their thoughts and thus speaks with refreshing honesty especially around basic emotions out of the mouths of babes… While the others around the table ensure that I speak and act appropriately to the situation, my inner child helps keep me centered and in touch with my true feelings.

As with many things, the key is balance and awareness is always the first step.

Closing Quotes:

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” – Audre Lorde

“Feelings are something you have; not something you are.” – Shannon L. Alder

“Emotions are celebrated and repressed, analyzed and medicated, adored and ignored — but rarely, if ever, are they honored.” – Karla McLaren

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier