I am a very emotional being. Actually, we all as humans are, because we were created in the image of an emotional God. Some of us have learned how not to express some emotions, while others of us have gotten addicted to specific emotions. But we all rely strongly on emotions in one way or another.
One way we rely on emotions is by how they make us feel. Internal feelings are very important to us. We like to FEEL in love. We like to FEEL happy. We like to FEEL like we are having fun. Those positive feelings cause us to repeat whatever caused that amazing internal buzz in the first place. It is also possible for us to start enjoying negative emotions. We can actually start liking to feel sad. We can get addicted to anger. We can start liking the feeling of jealousy. They same way we seek to repeat a behavior that triggered the buzz feelings, we will repeat destructive behaviors in order to experience the dark feelings. If the behaviors are destructive, you DO NOT have the "right" to conjure those feelings by repeating that behavior. You are not an island. You are connected to more people than you even physically know. You must be responsible in your emotions.
Another way we rely on emotional expression is to tell us if someone likes or dislikes something we've done or given. The funniest one is when tears are the response to a gesture of love, and the giver thinks they have done something wrong to hurt them! They expected big smiles as a reaction to the gift, or perhaps some girly hops up and down, but instead this person is shedding TEARS. We tend to imagine others’ behavior at something would be exactly like our own behavior, and we get thrown when their expression of the SAME emotion is very different from what ours would be.
But feeling emotions and expressing emotions is healthy. Being in control is what makes the difference in your emotions being constructing or destructive. The scripture describes controlling your emotional expression as controlling your "spirit." (Proverbs 25:28) It is rude to burst out laughing at a funeral. It is destructive to cry all day. It is hurtful to unleash a torrent of anger.
But it is also destructive to stop yourself from laughing or smiling, or to never cry, or to not let people know when you are angry or jealous. Building up a resistance to expressing emotions is hurtful to your own self, firstly. But once you have established all these lock-downs to expression, you end up hurting the people around you; your spouse, your children, your friends, and your family. As I described above, we communicate with each other by means more than words. We use emotional expressions to gauge how we should behave toward each other. If you are not demonstrating you are happy when someone says or does something you like and enjoy, how are they supposed to know to do that thing again? If you are not expressing pain or jealousy, how are they suppose to know how hurtful their behavior or words are to you? The scripture is, as always, absolutely correct in telling us how to handle our emotions; to "rule over our own spirit."
Is it okay to express anger? Yes!
Is it okay to express jealousy? Yes!
Is it okay to laugh? Yes!
Is it okay to cry? Yes!
All these expressions of emotions, be they considered negative or positive ones, are okay because God, your creator, expresses them. The scriptures describe him as so much in love he sings! (I LOVE that one.) We see God as angry, jealous, laughing, and even crying. The key to emotional well-being is neither to build walls, nor to let it all hang out. God showed us by example. Emotions were not in control of him, he was in control of them.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Proverbs 25:28 KJV
Le Muser; Denée Richardson
~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.