Excerpted from In the Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant:
Emotional honesty begins with being able to acknowledge what you feel. It is the way by which we honour the fact that we are emotional beings and that we do have feelings. This is something adults often fail to realise about children, that they are emotional beings. Consequently, as adults, we fail to recognise it about ourselves. It is not always necessary for you to announce to others what you feel. You must, however, allow yourself to feel it. Only through the experience of what you feel are you able to stay in touch with your inner self. Once you are in touch you will realise that all feelings are neutral, and that they derive their meaning from the energy that we give them. In essence, there are no good or bad feelings unless we tell ourselves they are good or bad. The actual conflict or confusion we experience is knowing the difference between acknowledging what we feel and the appropriate expression of that knowledge. Being able to identify and acknowledge what you feel is a sign of emotional health and stability. It empowers you to choose the appropriate response. When, on the other hand, you get stuck judging the right and wrong of your emotional experiences, to the degree that you deny having them, you are painting yourself into a very tight corner, an emotional tight spot that can often lead to inappropriate expressions.
Whether or not you are involved in a love relationship, emotional suppression, which is a form of self-deception, does not honour you, nor does it honour those with whom you interact in any way. Self-deception is failure to acknowledge the truth about yourself or others. If you cannot accept truth, you are in denial. When you are involved in something as powerful as loving yourself and others, the attempt to deny the depths of your experience creates what you know as pain. In the meantime, while you don't have this figured out, you are prone to do everything in your power to deny what you feel, believing that denial will keep you from speaking the painful truth. Important love rule here: acknowledgement and expression are not the same thing! Acknowledgement means having the courage to admit to yourself what you are feeling. Expression means having the presence of mind and the courage to let someone else know. They are two active reminders that love does not strip you of your decision-making faculties or the power to make a choice.