Truisms iii) Dry stonewalling

Here are seven of Jenny Holzer’s Truisms I increasingly agree with:

Fake or real indifference is a powerful personal weapon

Expressing anger is necessary

Emotional responses are as valuable as intellectual responses

Giving free rein to your emotions is an honest way to live

Hiding your emotions is despicable

Humor is a release

Playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run

For much of the last decade ‘stonewalling’ was a personal favourite of mine on the home and work front. I now see it was a form of emotional distancing I used to manage my reaction to people and situations. 

At one level it worked, but it drained my energy and at times frustrated people. Sometimes people would get cross with me. This was a quick route to me completely shutting down and quietly brooding, or more rarely reacting with excessively sharp-tongued vitriol. 

I’m learning that staying in touch with your feelings – although it feels risky sometimes – is important. Following my feelings can make me feel a bit ‘unbounded’, impulsive, eclectic, even a bit inappropriate sometimes. But often ‘in the moment’ I now do what needs doing or say what needs saying. And I have more laughs, with people I don’t know, as well as those I do. 

Constantly controlling my emotions was tiring, it drained my batteries and potentially prepared me to be hurt or hurtful. Better to be in tune and ready to speak up and speak out, flash a smile or crack up laughing. Life’s too short not to feel it.

2 thoughts on “Truisms iii) Dry stonewalling

  1. ” Giving free reign to your emotions is an honest way to live” and” hiding your emotions is despicable” are pretty strong statements and in my opinion wrong. There are times when we must keep our emotions in check, in effect controlling and hiding them. Staying in touch with our feelings does not mean letting them take control of our lives without boundries. You are right, life is short and we are meant to have joy in it. But sometimes restraint is the wiser course. There is no freedom without self control.

  2. I think this is why Holzer’s truisms have such an impact on me – out of context and without a balancing argument they often feel very wrong. Taken collectively they work at some level, taken selectively they often don’t, taken individually they almost all feel extreme, partial or wrong.

    I’d be inclined to always be governed by an Aristotelian ‘golden mean’ between extremes, but Holzer can sometimes make me rethink where that mean might be.

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