Growing up, my mom would constantly get upset with me for the weirdest reason: I would never cry. Of course, it drove her absolutely crazy that when her daughter, a performer since birth, would be rejected from a theatre production or special dance team. She would cry over the opportunities that were taken from me, the relationships that left me hurt, and the hard lessons that I had to learn. My mom would repeat the same phrase so much that it seemed religious: "You always have the worst luck."
However, what seemed to drive her even crazier was my reaction to these let-downs... or perhaps, my lack thereof.
I've had a good life, but I've also had more than my fair share of disappointments in life, and I would never show any sadness or hint of irritation. Of course, it wasn't that she enjoyed seeing me cry, but she would always get so frustrated with me because she felt that I must be bottling up all of my emotions if they aren't showing.
But in all honesty, I wasn't shoving them away inside any more than anyone else. In fact, I tried my hardest to keep from shoving them down. I just never showed that I was releasing them, and believe it or not: that's OK.
People have grown up with the interpretation that if you don't find a shoulder to cry on every once in awhile, you must be bottling up your emotions. If you don't show that you're sad, you aren't dealing with your emotions properly.
But new idea: there really is not a correlation between showing sadness and having sufficient emotional health.
In fact, it probably comes as a shock to consider the idea that those of us that don't show sadness could actually even be dealing with our emotions in a healthier way than you are.
The only essential part of dealing with sadness and disappointment in a healthy way is the releasing of the feeling. This can be done in more ways than just "talking it out." Personally, I have always chosen to exercise. When I'm let down, I go for a run. I punch a punching bag or pillow until the tension and anger are gone. I let myself cry — to myself — while I'm going for a walk or doing yoga.
No, I usually don't like to "talk it out." Sometimes I do, but it's of my own accord that I'll bring it up for your help in releasing the issue. Sure, I enjoy being with people to cheer me up, but I'd rather keep MY problems exactly that — MY problems. I'd rather get rid of them on my own, and that's OK.