Oh, feelings. They’re tricky little bastards.
I’m a big believer in the idea that it’s better to feel everything than to feel nothing. Pain, happiness, joy, sorrow, heartbreak, anger – I would rather experience it all than be numb. I’m human, it’s part of the human experience. Emotions are good.
But at what point, if any, does it become necessary to squash what you’re feeling in a valiant effort to replace it with something else? For example – if you’re angry, you should be angry. Fine. But is there a point at which you should work to let go of that anger and move on to forgiveness, or should you keep letting the anger fester simply because that’s how you feel? There’s no easy answer to that question, I don’t think. You can’t force forgiveness, but anger can eat away at you from the inside out. It’s unhealthy if left unmanaged.
I was always taught to be the bigger person – to be the one to smooth over a fight, apologize when I’m in the wrong (even if I don’t feel like apologizing), and to be the first to admit that I should share some blame in a conflict. It’s the right thing to do, and I still believe it is.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? What about not apologizing, even if it would be the “bigger” thing to do? What about letting yourself feel what you feel rather than ignoring it for the sake of being the mature one? On some level, certainly, that’s healthy too. We all know the repressing things is bad (thank you, Dr. Freud), and repressed feelings have a way of coming back to bite you. So in that line of thought, honesty is the best policy – with yourself and with others.
I guess it’s all about a balance. We can’t all going around stomping our little feet and whining “I don’t WANNA apologize”, but we also shouldn’t paste on a smile and make with the nicey nice if there is anger and hurt eating away at us inside. Somewhere in the middle is a healthy place to be.
It’s still a fight though, between the two. Because it’s hard to know whether being the bigger person will work out best in the long run, or whether you’ll be left wishing you’d let yourself feel what you felt, without trying to change it.
Personally, I have no idea.