I recently have been reflecting on the term ’emotionally bankrupt’. To me, it is a term that is used to describe someone who does not express any emotions.
During Greek times, the idea was that, if you wanted to ask someone for forgiveness, all you had to do was give them a gift. Perhaps this is where materialism stemmed from–we can erase anything and everything with something tangible, never mind the unconscious desires we carry with us. Perhaps this reasoning is why the Greeks were known to be so aggressive–they had so much rage built up in them because they were emotionally bankrupt–they covered up their emotions which then lead to a physical expression. I think there is definitely something to this idea. My grandmother, for example, grew during World War II in The Netherlands. She immigrated over to the Unites States in the 1950’s and forever lived her life under those same traits–suppress your emotions. She was a wonderful lady and ended up dying from breast cancer about ten years ago. I think you find a similar trend, even at a smaller scale of getting colds: when emotions are not expressed and are so pent up, the human body has to find a way to break the stress and therefore refers to a physical experience, whether that be through aggression, symptoms, or sickness.
My aunt recently told me, “Our family is not any crazier than any other family. The only difference is that we let our skeletons out to dance in the street and other families just leave their skeletons in the closet”. I come from a long line of educators, nurses, and counselors. I am not sure if those collective professions together have caused us to know the consequences of inhibiting emotions. In my opinion, I would rather go through a short period of carthasis and relieve my emotions rather than bottle them up, let them ruminate in my head, and ultimately prohibit my success.
I think as a society, we are making moves towards a more forgiving society. We can see this through many popular trends and cultural icons: we are more concerned with what we eat and stores are packed with ‘organic’ and ‘gluten free’ items; everyone is flocking to yoga/pilates/zumba/jazzercise classes; some places have passed gay marriage vows. As a society, I believe we are learning the consequences of sweeping things under the rug, and we are flourishing. I, for fact, am not ashamed to share the crazy, quirky stories from my family, because in the end, the experiences I share with them have made me who I am today.