Taming the volcano inside!

If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?
— Khalil Gibran

I read somewhere “Volcanoes are built by the accumulation of their own eruptive product, namely lava, ash and dust”. I feel we women are always carrying the burden of unexpressed emotions inside us. In society, women are assumed to wear our emotions on our sleeve, however the world does not see our struggle to express our true emotions. Societal norms and pressures dictate the way we behave. Appropriate emotional expression is crucial to leading a happy and fulfilling life. We are not born this way, then why do we build this façade of normalcy around us? How do we quieten the volcano of emotions inside us? 

Right from childhood, our family, friends and society exert a force on us to conform and behave in a certain manner. Any honest expression is suppressed and redirected to one that is more socially acceptable. As we grow older repressing undesirable emotions becomes the norm. Expressing an opinion, preference, or choice is debated several times in the mind before it is communicated. Over thinking and analyzing every reaction leads to increased stress levels in our body. To cope with the stress we develop defense mechanisms like anxiety, denial, anger and hostility. Difficulty in expressing emotions, whether it is due to the way we have been raised to behave or a coping mechanism, can unleash anxiety and dysfunction in our life.

It is difficult to build normal and healthy relationships in a choppy and turbulent emotional environment. Volunteerism and pressing ourselves to service is one way to find our emotional bearings.

Women are extremely capable and perceptive, making us a force to reckon with. We can contribute enormously to the world around us. Each of us has the potential of playing a supportive and complementary role in another person’s life. On a personal note, a few years back I lost my mother to a rare lung disease. I experienced the different stages of grief and it took me a year to come to terms with this loss. During this time, I got involved in community service that required me to interact with people and work towards a goal. Immersing myself in a cause helped me overcome my grief and find peace.

Research has proven that volunteerism can make an immeasurable difference in the lives of others and our own too. Besides providing health benefits volunteering can dispel negativity and increase our self worth. Making new friends, learning new skills and actually seeing the results of our service helps us open-up. We begin to care less about ourselves and get engaged in a cause. Serving without any ulterior motive, obligation, or expectations helps us drop the facade and quell the volcano inside.