The Importance of Catharsis

by Auriel Simmonds

As humans, we are truly complex beings. Our lives lead us to experience a vast array of emotions that can totally overwhelm us. And this is where the importance of catharsis lies. Catharsis is defined as ‘the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions’. Essentially, it is the process through which we are able to essentially unload our emotional baggage and relieve ourselves of it. And it is vital that we allow ourselves to endure the process.

Catharsis is all around us. When your boyfriend does the same thing he always does that he knows annoys you but you don’t want to get into a fight so you bite your tongue. But then, you remember the meeting you were supposed to plan for is tomorrow and you’ve done nothing. And then comes the final trigger – you get into bed, grab your book but your bookmark falls out and you lose your space. Tears. Streaming down your face, the tears pour relentlessly and you can’t quite figure out what’s happening. However, when you take a moment after the fact to think about it all, it makes a bit more sense. We bottle things up, but eventually, the bottle won’t be able to stay shut! Well, that’s entirely what catharsis is. And it is something that should be embraced. 

Catharsis = Liberation

Catharsis liberates you from being weighed down by your emotions. In expressing how you feel instead of repressing them, you can begin to understand them and so, better yourself. We’re able to be truly connected to our emotions through the process of catharsis. Some of us have a tendency to ignore how we feel for fear of it ruling us. However, whether we like it or not, we’re humans. Our lives, our friendships, our relationships, are all based on our emotions. This means that we’re ruled by our feelings every day. That is what makes us human. It’s not something we need to repress. Ultimately, the process of catharsis enables us to understand ourselves better and to live our lives more authentically every day.


In being able to confront how we’re feeling in a healthy and natural way, this will have a knock-on effect on our relationships with others. We’ll be more in touch with ourselves which will mean that we’re able to empathise with the people around us, in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to, otherwise.

In our experiences as humans, we end up constantly altering who we are. And so, with an ever-changing and growing personality, comes an extraordinary amount of varying feelings. Unequalled and intense happiness, heart-wrenching sadness, unbelievable frustration. And all of this happens inside us. As we exist in the world that surrounds us. Alongside the people, we care about and those we don’t even know. But through the process of catharsis, we are able to experience these emotions and let them shape who we are, without entirely defining us. Catharsis allows us to be defined by how we choose to engage with our emotions and in how we treat the people we love and perfect strangers!

Get To Know You To Get To Know Them

The importance of catharsis lies within our human need to be connected to the world around us and its people. It liberates us from ourselves so that we can grow and smile, laugh, cry, and experience life. We’re able to be better connected to ourselves as we don’t remain stuck in the past and instead experience life in the present. If you have the opportunity to spend some time alone, to really get in touch with your emotions, this will help you connect better to the world around you. Spending time at home, by yourself, doesn’t have to always be unproductive. You can use it to develop your sense of self and learn about what you truly feel and why. Then, you can harness this and use it in a positive, productive and healing way.

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