Did you know that Sigmund Freud believed that most, if not all, psychological problems were caused by repressed sexual desires? Now, for the self-righteous conservatives living in the Victorian age, this was quite a controversial assertion. So was the idea that one’s personality could be separated into three different personas: the id, the ego, and the super ego. The id is the instinctual, animalistic side that craves pleasure through instant gratification. The super ego is more like the crotchety, incredibly religious and judgmental grandfather you’re glad you never had. The ego is the portion that is responsible for dealing with everyday life and finding a balance between the two extremes.
While most of society instructs us to act properly and suppress all urges except to be the sweet, docile little angels that every mother prays for, is that really wise? Oppression leads to rebellion in the form of extreme, drastic overkill. Moderation is the key to a healthy psyche, as any good psychologist would tell you. Even though self-discipline is the fastest way to get that hot bikini body, it often leads to random gorging and awful culinary habits. The majority of the population has never seen it that way. It’s always ‘don’t do this,’ ‘don’t do that’ until we eventually all snap. I’m definitely not advising that you find yourself a thirty-year-old boyfriend, a meth dealer, and a fake ID so that you can get the tramp stamp you’ve always wanted, but it’s not a crime to go a little wild at times. Remember how I said ‘a little’?
If you let the id run too rampant, say goodbye to your college fund, clean rap sheet, and general future, and that’s if you’re lucky. Some healthy ways to do this are girls’ night, a little gluttony here, a little partying there, and maybe just a hint of something a little more dangerous. Letting off steam is a lot trickier. Finding a healthy balance is more than just rebelling, it’s about letting your emotions out. Oppression does more than just limit our opportunities, it leads to burying our emotions in a stinking heap of denial. Not only does suppressing emotions damage our ability to relate to others, but it can also lead to health problems, like grinding your teeth, acne, premature gray hairs, weaker immune system, headaches, stomach aches, and blowing a lot of money on therapy. I find the easiest and healthiest ways to blow off steam are talking, relaxation, and beating the crap out of an inanimate object. Physical exertion is an incredibly effective and cheap way to get your emotions out. Whether you run, swim, play contact sports, or use a punching bag, by the time you’re done, I guarantee you will feel freer and more exhilarated.
My favorite ways to act out are girl’s nights where I spend way too much money, eat way too much junk food, and share way too much information; my dearest love, my punching bag; writing my feelings down or venting, which is always helpful; walking my dogs; playing soccer; and listening to loud, angry, outdated bands while glaring out my window. By the way, to all of you who are judging me, I would like to cite my healthy internal organs and lack of arrests as proof that my system trumps yours.
Suppressing emotions has led to more social, mental, emotional, and physical issues than I can name. But while bottling up our true feelings is bad for the heart, soul, and intestines, being too free with our words and our fists leads to crushing loneliness and a permanent set of handcuffs. Inside each of us is our id, our animalistic self that fights every moment to take control and go crazy.
Choose simple, safe, and satisfying ways to unleash the inner you, whether it be violent, a glutton, a nerd, or a slut. So, next time your mom says she “never did anything like that” when she was in high school, you can call her bluff because none of us are the perfect little angels that parents may have us believe, and we shouldn’t have to pretend.