I attended a pseudo self-help class a couple of years back. They tried to teach me, among many other things, to not be a 'football of my emotions' and contradictory to that, also stressed on the importance of expressing your emotions. I juggled with the two statements till I understood their real meaning.
Emotions, as you know, are tricky customers. We tend to think that we're made of steel and are above the petty chemical processes of the brain. But, see, technically, your brain is boss and the chemical hanky-panky does and will happen.
Dealing with emotions: Stage One- Acceptance.
After having accepted your emotion, you can proceed in two ways- you can either vent it or try to keep yourself calm. However, the same remedy does not work with all emotions.
For example, let's say someone screwed up and you're angry. You can either give that person a piece of your mind or let it be. Both have their pros and cons. When you're venting out anger, you also tend to hurt the other person- your emotion set off a reaction in the other person and theirs set off a retaliatory one in you and so on. Also, it raises your blood pressure and that is never good. Bottling it inside wouldn't make your anger go away though. It would make it turn to resentment thereby modifying your behavior to the other person. I've been on the receiving end of this a number of times. It sucks, you can't figure out why the other person is acting weird and then you play Sherlock and figure out the person's angry but till then it's too late to make amends and the anger just explodes. No, that is not a good option. Sometimes, the anger turns to irritation and frustration until eventually, you lash out at somebody/something for another's mistake. Being a football of your emotions. So, the anger will come out of you, either way, but the trick is to let it flow out subtly. Let the person know his/her fault, let the person know you have every right to be angry. There, you've let the burden off your chest, now it's the other person's responsibility.
Then there are other emotions that absolutely need expressing. Like joy, for instance. Remember the nursery rhyme 'When you're happy and you know it clap your hands..'? Express your joy, let the rays of sunshine wash you with warmth. You've earned your joy and have every right to relish in it. Plus, this is one emotion that's instantly addictive. Nobody can escape the charms of a smiling face. So, the next time you receive a salary bonus or get free tickets to see your favorite band, do not think twice before doing a little shimmy and letting the world know.
Then, pain. I know you've been told crying makes you look weak, needy etc etc. But the truth is, everybody hurts and everybody cries, some time or the other. Some do it publicly some privately, but there's no escaping this. Experience your pain, don't shove it inside. Wallow in it. Let it speak to you. Cry if you have to. Most of the time, we try to ignore it and divert our minds when all we need is a good cry, a person to confide in and some hot cocoa. There's a difference between healing and curing. To me, crying it out is like purging yourself.
I cannot stress more on the importance of expressing your love. In that workshop, they made us tell our parents that we loved them. I had never done that till then, at least not verbally. I felt awkward. I took the easy route, composed a poem and mailed it to them. The response I got made me feel so happy and light. It's a beautiful feeling, to love and be loved. Think of it this way- suppose you die tomorrow, would your close ones know what they meant to you or would they spend the rest of their lives wondering? Send your love.
There's also no problem with letting someone know you don't like him/her. After all, you're not expected to be the universal messenger of love and harmony. There will always be someone who stands for everything you've ever disagreed with. Let that be known. Show some integrity. But also, don't let the self-satisfaction of your hatred turn into sadism. Unfortunately, this is what's happening with the world- back-biting and then relishing in the prospects of others' doom. I believe it all comes down to how important integrity is to one.
Anyway, enough preaching.
The bottom line is - Be emotional, you're human, but don't be foolishly so.