It is singular and curious that it was an excessively shy and reserved French painter, like Pierre Bonnard, who pronounced the phrase “Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure and express your pleasure firmly”. That is to say, that a man famous for his sensitivity and parsimony in words advised not to leave a single day without expressing emotions and feelings, without giving a love to loved ones is really surprising.
There is no doubt that if the most shy and reserved people are capable of observing beauty, understanding it and expressing it by displaying enormous sensitivity, anyone could say I love you to those who are deserving of their love and friendship.
Expressing emotions and feelings and letting them out is not only good behavior, it is also necessary. It is not advisable to believe that airing out repressions is a bad thing, because not only is it not like that; in fact, it is a habit that will bring better mental and physical health .
“Never waste the opportunity to express your love.”
-H. Jackson Brown-
Alexithymia, the disease of those who do not express their emotions
Not expressing emotions is a social behavior that, despite being openly accepted, is negative for human health. So much so that currently this symptom is considered the basis of an identified disorder: alexithymia.
Alexithymia appears in those people who are somehow unable to identify, express or verbalize their emotions. Thus, not putting words to emotions can end up degenerating into serious behavioral and mental health problems. In fact, there are known cases of depression, social isolation and even somatization due to the inability to give way to a torrent of feelings that are channeled incorrectly.
However, alexithymia can also lead to physical problems derived from psychological difficulties. For example, it could cause stomach pain, heart attacks, hypertension, ulcers and even irritable bowel syndrome, among other diseases.
What’s more, alexithymia has even more dire consequences. Living without being able to express a love for you can cause a great deterioration of social relationships.
“Crying is sometimes the way of expressing things that cannot be said in words.”
Extreme cases of alexithymia
To talk about extreme cases of alexithymia, I would like to refer to a unique television series that a few years ago was quite successful in different countries of the world. I’m talking about Dexter , starring actor Michael C. Hall.
The protagonist of the series, named Dexter, had behaviors that bordered on psychopathy due to his inability to feel empathy, express feelings and even get to feel them. For him to say I love you was a real agony.
Obviously, this is an extreme case that comes out of fiction. However, it can serve as a starting point to look for similar symptoms in each of us and to know if we may be suffering from alexithymia to a greater or lesser degree.
The inability to give an I love you, a problem rooted in society
According to the Spanish Society of Neurology, up to 10% of the population worldwide suffers from alexithymia, so it is obvious that it is a problem that affects a good number of people, many of them perhaps close to us.
To be able to identify people with this disease we have to look at their empathic capacity or their possibilities to express themselves. Even those who have suffered strokes, brain tumors or head trauma, could be affected.
The brain is the one that allows humans to feel love, joy or fear and the one that is responsible for relating feelings and emotions with words. A mental function that goes beyond a social conditioning, because in reality it is a necessity.
According to Dr. Pablo Duque, from the Spanish Society of Neurology, “the inability to identify and verbalize emotions and feelings in people is caused by an interruption in the connection between structures in the brain.”
It is evident that expressing emotions, showing feelings or saying I love you is not only something beautiful and beautiful, it is also a psychological need that improves our mental and physical health.