Understanding someone who holds in their feelings can be challenging. Picture a placid lake – serene, tranquil, an epitome of calm. Now, imagine the multitude of currents, swirling and twirling beneath its smooth surface, unseen by the naked eye.

Much like this lake, there are people around us whose outer calm belies an undercurrent of withheld emotions.

In this post, we’re going to explore the world of this specific group – someone who holds in their feelings.

Despite the tempest of emotions, they may be wrestling with internally, these individuals project an air of tranquility externally, creating a fascinating paradox that we’re here to decipher.

Profile of Someone Who Holds in Their Feelings

In your circle of friends or colleagues, there’s likely at least one person who is the embodiment of resilience, who faces life’s storms with an unwavering calm. This individual, someone who holds in their feelings, is intriguing.

Behind their calm exterior, there is often a whirlwind of emotions and feelings that they prefer to keep to themselves.

  • They rarely open up about their personal problems, often ensuring that their internal turmoil remains their secret.
  • While they are masterful conversationalists, they avoid topics that are too personal or emotionally charged.
  • In situations that are emotionally intense, they maintain their composure, appearing detached or even aloof.

These traits are often the first indicators that you’re interacting with someone who holds in their feelings.

“Emotions, when expressed, become our compass, not our burden.”

The Psychology Behind Someone Who Holds in Their Feelings

The tendency to hold in feelings is not innate but acquired, a learned behavior that can stem from a myriad of psychological, sociocultural, and personal factors:

  • Fear of vulnerability: Being open about one’s feelings often requires a certain level of vulnerability. This vulnerability can be synonymous with weakness. They often believe that maintaining an emotional façade makes them appear stronger, and more self-reliant.
  • Past trauma or negative experiences: The past can leave deep imprints on a person’s emotional makeup. A negative experience associated with expressing feelings can lead someone to adopt a defensive stance and hold into their feelings to avoid experiencing pain, rejection, or conflict again.
  • Societal and cultural norms: Certain societies or cultures may discourage the open expression of emotions, especially in public.

The Pros and Cons of Being Someone Who Holds in Their Feelings

Despite its seeming benefits as a defense mechanism, the reality of being someone who holds in their feelings can be likened to a double-edged sword.

There are pros and cons to this behavior, which need to be understood for a balanced perspective:


  • Crisis Management: In situations that are emotionally volatile, the ability to hold in feelings can be a valuable asset. It helps maintain composure, providing a stable presence when others may be succumbing to panic or hysteria.
  • Conflict Avoidance: Emotional conversations can sometimes spiral into conflicts. Someone who holds in their feelings can often navigate these situations without letting them escalate, minimizing potential arguments or disagreements.


  • Emotional Isolation: One of the most significant downsides of being someone who holds in their feelings is emotional isolation. Even when surrounded by friends and loved ones, they may feel a sense of loneliness or disconnect because they are not sharing their true feelings.
  • Physical and Mental Health Impact: The pressure of suppressed emotions can take a toll on both mental and physical health. Studies suggest that emotional suppression can lead to increased stress, and anxiety, and even contribute to conditions like hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Guidance for Someone Who Holds in Their Feelings

If you see yourself in the traits and behaviors described above, remember that it’s perfectly okay to seek help.

Here are some steps you can take if you’re someone who holds in their feelings:

  • Self-Awareness: Recognizing your tendency to suppress emotions is the first step toward change. As Carl Jung once said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
  • Healthy Outlets: Look for safe avenues to express yourself. This could include creative pursuits like art, writing, or music, physical activities like sports or yoga, or simply maintaining a personal journal.
  • Professional Help: Therapists, psychologists, and counselors are trained to help people navigate their emotional world. They can provide valuable tools and techniques to help someone manage their emotions in a healthier manner. Seek help here.
  • Build a Support System: Cultivate relationships where you feel comfortable sharing your feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to bare your soul to everyone you meet but try to have a few trusted confidantes with whom you can be your authentic self.

Psychologist and author Susan David beautifully encapsulates the importance of emotional expression in her words…

“Emotional agility is the ability to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind.”

It is okay to let your guard down, it is okay to seek help when you need it.

But remember, expressing your emotions is a fundamental aspect of your humanity.

We’re all navigating the vast ocean of human emotions, and it’s important to know that no one should have to do it alone.

What you can do right now

Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social blueprint, and more) Prepare more when you go out to manage different social situations.

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