Emotions as beach balls

It takes energy to suppress emotions.

Published on 
2 min, 294 words

Categories: life

Do you suppress your emotions?

I used to suppress my emotions a lot and I guess I still do in certain situations; I am getting better at letting them out. For example, watching the end of the film "Mr Holland's Opus" has me in floods of tears every time.

In an interview for the Knowledge Project podcast, the leadership coach Jim Dethmer had the following to say about the repression of emotions:

Here's what I didn't know is the amount of energy it takes to repress and suppress emotion. I tell people now it's like your emotions are like a beach ball. And you take them and you try to hold them under the water. And the more inflated the ball is the harder it is to hold under the water. Imagine if one beach ball is sadness and one beach ball is anger and one beach ball is fear; and after a while, you're holding these things under the water, you get exhausted.

I love this analogy. Most people can relate to the effort of holding a beach ball under the water and then expanding that to multiple balls. The effort and difficulty increases with time.

They can also relate to what happens when they grow tired or one of the balls escapes and breaks the surface - going much further than it would have done if it was just floating.

This is so true of emotions - it takes effort to repress them and sometimes, often, it is best to just let them out.


Jim Dethmer: The Pillars of Integrity #161/ Mr Holland's Opus