Don’t bottle it up

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IMG_0004 (4)After a wonderful Conference weekend full of inspirational talks by our leaders and some forced self-evaluation, I found myself crying to my roommate. I’m not a huge crier. This is mostly due to the fact that I tend to bottle up many of my feelings. I do this even when I don’t realize it and then I have to deal with them later. Conference weekend was one of those moments. Many emotions I had shoved down came to the surface as I listened to some of those talks. Eventually we all have to deal with our problems, no matter how hard we try to avoid them.

This experience got me thinking about the topic of naivety. Admittedly one of my biggest pet peeves in life is that of people avoiding what is right in front of them. I realize this is a bit hypocritical of me as I know that I am sometimes naive. It’s a common trait in human nature to avoid feelings and situations that make them uncomfortable.

Personally it makes me extremely uncomfortable to be vulnerable enough to cry in front of another person. Ironically, when other people cry in front of me, I don’t feel uncomfortable in the slightest, I actually think it is a good thing that they are getting their feelings out. Kind of a double standard, I know.

The risk I feel in naivety comes when people avoid things around them so much that it blows up in their faces later. I believe that sooner or later we all have to deal with those things that are hard for us. It’s important to not bury ourselves so deeply that it’s painful to come back out.

I was recently reading a book for my Russian literature class called “Sofia Petrovna.” As the main character in this book, Sofia is the essence of naivety. Living in Communist Russia during the reign of Stalin, Sofia is surrounded by propaganda and the terror that surrounded the people of that time. Despite all of this, Sofia refuses to admit that anything bad could ever happen to any good person in her country, even as those close to her are arrested, killed and put into work camps. Almost until the very end of the book, Sofia refuses to admit that anything could be going terribly wrong in her beloved country. That is, until she is forced into believing by the facts that stare her straight in the face.

Eventually Sofia had to face up to the things she was trying to avoid. I know I will always eventually have to face the feelings I have been avoiding, no matter how much I try. And you know what? I always feel better after I face my feelings afterwards, no matter how hard it is.

After having a good cry to my roommate, although it was still hard, I felt better. For some reason getting it all out and acknowledging the issue helped. Talking about it and expressing myself didn’t necessarily change the situation, but it helped me to better deal with it.

Those things in life that might cause us spiritual or physical harm are the exception to this theory. We should avoid the things that will cause that kind of harm; however, being aware and avoiding are two different issues. It’s important to be aware of the those things in your life that may cause that kind of harm so that you know how to avoid them.

We must all conquer the mountains put in front of us. This is something that I’m trying to work on. Those issues of conflict or the things I have no desire to face are the exact things I know I should try to face head on. Instead, as is my human nature, I bottle and then eventually the bottle explodes in my face, usually at the moment I least expect it. As I work on facing my issues head on, I know I will have fewer of these exploding moments and be able to deal with life in a more positive way. In the end, this is all I can really ask of myself or those around me — to try.

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