The Different Ways of Expressing Emotions


Rachel Torres, Scoop Writer

Emotions are complicated. Everyone feels them, yet no one truly understands them.  The way an individual expresses themselves and their emotions can lead to conflict – or resolution. 

Passiveness is one of the four main ways of dealing with emotions. If someone is a passive person, they tend to let people walk all over them. They accept or allow what happens to themselves or others. Many describe passive people as “pushovers”, because they are afraid to disagree. They do not have an active response and are resistant to address the issue. They feel guilty saying “no” and don’t stand up for themselves. Finally, they apologize for no reason to everything. 

This leads us to the exact opposite of passive: aggressive. Aggressive people put their needs ahead of all others. They are described as controlling, arrogant, intolerant and make everything a competition. They tend to lack respect for others, because they simply attack them. Aggressive people do not hold back and will do everything in their power to make an individual feel small. These are the “Karen’s” of the world. They make a big deal out of things that can easily be worked out. 

Being passive and being aggressive are two opposite ends of the spectrum that can come together to be passive aggressive. Passive aggression is a popular phrase that many people know. Being passive aggressive, a person is described as being subtle with their aggression, being hostile, being sarcastic, belittling others, complaining, having a victim complex, being manipulative, and similar to aggression, having a lack of respect for others. Passive aggressive humans refuse to take responsibility for their actions and are self loathing. They pretend everything is fine, when in reality they are extremely angry. An example of this is “it’s fine, it’s fine, I just would’ve loved to go or whatever”. They are saying everything is okay, but it makes the other person feel bad that they are not attending. It is a form of gaslighting and manipulation used to get what they want, or making someone feel awful that they didn’t get it.

Last but not least, there is being assertive. This is deemed as the most healthy way of expressing emotions. Being assertive means an individual has the confidence to ask for help, as well as what is owed to them. They are able to celebrate others. They have a willingness to listen to criticism and a desire to grow from said criticism. They show respect to all of those around them. Finally, they accept mistakes and take full responsibility for their actions. Assertive communication is the willingness to talk things out. It is not belittling or attacking the other person, but hearing them out. Being assertive is the best way of avoiding conflict and the healthiest way of dealing with emotions.

At the end of the day however, everyone is all human. No one is perfect. Everyone has at least done one of each of these ways of expressing themselves. It is completely normal to act out, to be walked over and to own up to mistakes. No one is a horrendous person if they have been passive aggressive before. No one should let their past emotions define them. 

Emotions can be overwhelming and complicated, but once an individual learns and adapts to having them, they can be both powerful and assertive.