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My problem with the British stiff upper lip
Posted by english-lady
4th Jan 2016

I'm a 52 year old English lady. For most of my life I've received these messages whenever I've been upset or shown my emotions/if I've cried:

Don't you cry/crying is weak/childish.
Pull yourself together/don't get upset/don't upset yourself/other similar sayings.
Fear nothing/worry about nothing/don't be scared about anything.
After my mum died (a bereavement) I was told not to be sad as my mum would want me to be happy.

If this is the Britain's stiff upper lip philosophy on how I'm expected to behave - with total emotional restraint - then I really hate the British stiff upper lip and I cannot keep this stiff upper lip.

You see I'm a person who sometimes cries and feels sad, afraid and unhappy and I feel I am being told to stop all my feelings and emotions with this stiff upper lip thing and then I'm judged as being weak/immature/wrong because I can't do this.

Sometimes, when I'm told to be brave or strong, I'm concerned that this means I'm not supposed to cry, feel or show any emotion.

I definitely feel this stiff upper lip thing is harmful and discriminatory to our mental health. People should be able to cry and express their feelings and emotions appropriately and not keep them under lock and key as the stiff upper lip way dictates.

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