Hi! Welcome to week 2 in a series of 7 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me—an article I wrote for Hello, Darling Magazine. Last week I shared Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help. If you didn’t get the chance to read it, either scroll down or click here. For those of you who did see the post, did you swallow your pride and ask for help last week? Take a minute and tell us about your experience. Did it feel good? Bad? Indifferent? Were you glad you asked? I can’t wait to hear your story. Until then…onto week 2.

Have you ever had relationship with someone who seemed rather stoic? Perhaps they didn’t smile much or didn’t respond to your jokes. You walked away from coversations wondering if it was you or them. You ended up analyzing them and then shrugging your shoulders. I can tell you from experience, it’s not because they are indifferent. At least for most people. Most of the time they are trying to figure out the correct response and from experience I have learned it’s best to not respond at all. It’s safe that way. And we like to be safe. Don’t we?

As I stated in the excerpt from point 2 in 7 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me:

Laugh! Cry! Be Angry! Just feel something!

From an early age, I learned that if I stifled my emotions, I would get into less trouble and draw less attention to myself. As an adult, I am less emotional than the average woman. I’ve been accused of not feeling anything and being as cold as stone. I know that I feel. I can see it in my writing. I’m still learning the best ways to show that I love, I hurt, and that I hate.

Humans are emotional beings. This is how God made us. We do not have to make excuses for feeling. While we should never allow our emotions to rule us, we should never try to exile all emotional responses—God wouldn’t have given them to us if we weren’t supposed to have them.

Being able to cry with a friend who just lost a loved one or rejoice with your daughter as she gives birth to your first grandchild is an honor. Embrace those emotions. Don’t fear them.

My challenge for you this week is, if you are like me, and tend to hide from your emotions, go out on a limb and crack a smile. Dance a jig. Jump up and down. Stand outside and let out the loudest whoop you’ve ever attempted. If emotion is no stranger to you, then your challenge is to give a little grace to the person who you’ve deemed “cold as stone.” You have no idea what they have gone through and where they’ve been in order to necessitate those chasms in emotional expression.

Emotions can be awesome and freeing. Emotions can also be controlling and overwhelming. Balance is key. Finding balance is the hardest part.

See you next week for week 3, Social Etiquette is Key!