Are you an emotional person? Five points how you can handle your many emotions and help your child to do the same.
Emotions are a good and vital part of our lives. Some people live a pretty emotional life – others are less emotional. The approach to these emotions varies according to culture, upbringing, personality.
Living in South America, I loved the “sangre latina” (Latin blood) meaning high emotions as well as this capacity to move the body to the rhythm of their music.
Living in Sweden I rather found the “decent” way of communicating and gathering.
Of course you can find the whole range of emotions in any culture, but still these tendencies are very real.
My own experiences with emotions result in quite a story. And here is what I’ve learned in it.
In my own family, being emotional was seen as a bad thing. It was too loud, to tiring, to rude to express oneself with emotion. “Nice girls don’t express emotions”. – Or at least not the range of emotions that could disturb others. Not only anger, disappointment or resentment, but also joy and excitement when expressed too strongly. As a result, when I did those “personality tests” when I was a young adult, I always turned out to be “introvert”, “phlegmatic”, “melancholic” . All these attributes of people who are rather quiet and not expressing many emotions.
Today I find myself to be very emotional. I belong to the kind of people who live their lives as an emotional journey, and I enjoy seeing my little girl expressing the whole range of emotions too (Compared to my husband and my oldest, who are going through life with much less emotions, using their logical mind instead:) !
I know now that being emotional is something very precious. And there are no “bad” emotions. Even hatred and anger are not bad in themselves – the important thing is what we do with them!
Check out these few points on what I do today with my many emotions, and what I teach my girl to do with hers:
1. I have learned to be aware of what I am feeling.
One day, I met a beautiful Asian girl, very kind and likeable . However, instead of a friendship, I always felt bad being around her.
2. I try to put a name on it. “is it guilt, hurt, anger? Do I feel confused, fearful, depressed, or lonely?
Concerning the story with the Asian girl, I recognized jealousy. And a deep hurt.
3. I quit being afraid of calling these emotions by name. If there is hate. There is hate. If there is jealousy. There is jealousy. If there is bitterness. There is bitterness. Feelings don’t go away only because I pretend they are not there. They show the reality of what is inside us, and it is more than important to acknowledge them.
In that situation with the Asian girl, I felt silly to admit that there was jealousy in me. I was jealous because of her beauty, of her tiny, slim and cute appearance. Simply because the guy I loved so much was attracted to these body types, and therefore not to me – since my outward appearance has nothing to do with the small, slim, cute Asian prototype.
4. I decide that emotions are not leading my life. As we’ve seen, emotions in itself are not the problem. What we do with them, makes all the difference. What do I do with the hate/jealousy/sadness/bitterness I feel in my life? Do I make wrong decisions based on these Emotions trying to feel better?
Now I understood my emotions in that situation. Of course, this Asian girl remembered me of the rejection I received from that guy I dearly loved…. and the hurt I felt by this rejection. The way I was feeling was understandable. However, I decided that I will not let this reality of my feeling determine my relationship with this girl.
5. I see if I can do something immediate about it. Is there something I can stop/start doing, someone I need to call, write or visit…..?
Therefore, as soon as I was aware of all of it, I asked a good friend if she could pray with me, and I expressed “forgiveness” to the Asian women. Forgiveness for being so beautiful, attracting this guy more than I did. That may sound silly, but it was quite a strong moment for me. And you know what? From that day on, there weren’t any of these feelings for beautiful Asian women anymore. (And having now a husband who thinks my physical appearance is perfect is a gift I value a lot).
Today, I look at them, admire their look, and I honestly think they are beautifully made…. without a glimpse of hurt or jealousy in my heart. I am free from these emotions.
If I would have refused to admit what I was feeling, or if I wouldn’t have refused to take these emotions for the “truth”… today I would still have these feelings in my heart, influencing my life
So the important issue about emotions is this: I am not my emotions, but rather I reign over emotions. However, I will only be able to reign over my emotions if I am are able to recognize and name them.
As long as they are hidden deep inside us, they lead us. They reign over us. They dictate our lives. It is only the day we take the time and the courage to identify them, that they lose some of the power over our lives. And the day we are doing something about them, their power is completely broken and we can mature and become this amazing person God created us to be.
In my experience, one of the most powerful actions to take in many of the strong emotions is the process of forgiveness. To forgive the person that hurt us. Parents, friends, teachers, or other authorities in our lives…. forgiveness does not diminish the hurt or injustice that caused the situation, but it enables us to live our lives free from it. Like in my example, these emotions of jealousy were not at all rational… but emotions are not rational anyway, even if we experience them in a very real way. The freedom you get by overcoming them is just as real.
You are unique and amazingly made, your emotions, how you feel about things are important and valuable!
There were times in my life when I had amazing people around me, walking with me that process of dealing with the many emotions and healing. However, there were times when I felt very alone, without anyone understanding, let alone being able to help me in that process. These were the times I learned to turn to God alone, expressing to Him my heart. In His presence we will always find s find deep understanding, comfort, strength and courage to do the right thing about it! Then you can say – and experience – with me like David said, in Psalm 142.7
“Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.”