The Things You Don’t Name Stop Existing

January 30, 2019
Naming your emotions is the first step to freeing yourself from the pain they may cause. If you don't name them, they may harm you.

Where do the nameless fears go? Where does your mind store the emotions that you’ve let go of? How do you deal with the things that bring you pain if you avoid them? Where’s the final resting place of those dreams that never come to be? All those things you don’t name stop existing.

But just because they stop existing doesn’t mean they lose their potential to harm you. They keep hurting the same way as when you weren’t talking about them. Even when you don’t talk about what bothers you regarding other people or what’s making you so angry, those things sting. You still feel pain when others attack your self-esteem and belittle you. But if you don’t talk about these things, they practically cease to exist.

How can you define your fears if you don’t give a name to them? When you name them, you give them a shape. And that gives you the opportunity of facing them and overcoming them. If you don’t do this, your fears will still be there. Many thoughts can be meaningful for you. But if you don’t name them, you’ll never face them. The thoughts stay powerful, but they only exist in your own mind.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

-Mahatma Gandhi-

If you don't name your emotions they have the power to cause you fear.

How do the things you don’t name affect you?

Did you know that a third of the people who go to the doctor have symptoms that don’t have a medical explanation? The pain isn’t physical, but psychological in nature. This means that psychological pain hurts as much as physical pain. It stays inside you without being able to escape and damages your body. All those things you don’t name and release stop existing for others.

The more time you spend alone with your own pain, the bigger your pain grows inside of you. When you don’t allow it to come out, you increase your chances of getting sick. This is true when you see but don’t speak, when you hear but don’t help, or when you hurt but you don’t try to heal yourself. These are ways of making your body and soul ill.

Suffering alone tears people up inside. That’s why there’s no better cure than naming those things that are killing you from the inside. Name your fears, your dreams, and the injustices of the world. When you name all of them, you have the power to do something about them. You can work on them and confront them. You can own them.

A woman freeing herself from her chains.

Why is it bad to repress your emotions?

It’s not possible for people to understand what you don’t name. People can’t see the burdens you don’t name. Due to that, you can’t share the weight of those burdens with anyone. Thus, they end up tormenting and pursuing you.

Emotions are very important. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to regulate them. This is true for the sake of both your mental and physical health.

According to an article written by scientists Philippe Goldin and James Gross that was  printed in the journal Biological Psychiatry, emotions are related to your pattern of brain activity, whether you express them or not. On the other hand, they also established that emotional repression activates the insula and the amygdala.

Expressing your emotions eases some of your pain and the damage they have caused you. When you identify the emotions that certain situations evoke in you (such as fear, joy, anger, etc.), you’ll be closer to facing those situations intelligently.

When you let everything out, you heal yourself. When you empty what you have inside, you make the problem smaller because you’re able to share it. When you name something, you give it a physical shape which you then have no choice but to face.

Goldin, P. R., McRae, K., Ramel, W., & Gross, J. J. (2008). The Neural Bases of Emotion Regulation: Reappraisal and Suppression of Negative Emotion. Biological Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.031