You know what pisses me off? The idea that feelings can be wrong. That emotions are inherently good or bad.
I SO disagree with this. Every emotion is valid. Every emotion has a purpose. The challenge is for us to –
- Recognise the emotion
- Figure out what it’s telling us
- Be conscious of how (or if) we act on it
For example, there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with being angry! But there is something wrong with taking our anger out on people. (Don’t get stabby. Stabby is bad.)
If, though, we can recognise that we’re feeling angry and pause to figure out what that’s about, we can then decide whether or not we need to act on that anger.
So on that note, what’s on my mind today is how as Kiwis we’re still not that great at expressing our emotions (or that comfortable with others expressing theirs). And in a country where we have disgustingly high suicide rates, this feels to me like a simple, tangible thing we can all be working on.
It’s also super relevant while we’re on national lockdown here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Cos lockdown is all kinds of mindfuckery.
Again: If we think that emotions are inherently good or bad, that can stop us from expressing how we’re feeling.
But sharing how we’re feeling is an act of generosity! It’s a gift to those around us and it’s a gift to ourselves.
I have an amazing team of people who care for one of my daughters. One of them recently told the rest of us about something personal going on in her world – the anniversary of the death of a child – and how that was bringing lots of things up for her. It wasn’t a huge announcement. It wasn’t some big disclosure. It was a “Hey guys, If I’m a bit teary or my emotions are close to the surface at the moment, here’s why.”
We were SO GRATEFUL to her letting us in. I was so grateful for the gift she gave us – the gift of us understanding what was going on with her. The gift of not worrying if she was quiet, or teary. The gift of being able to give her the right space or the right words or the right listening ears.
So I wonder if we could all commit to telling people how we’re feeling today. And maybe again tomorrow.
I’m feeling a bit unsettled.
I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I’m feeling triggered.
Even just saying – I’m having an emotional reaction to that, and I’m going to take some time to work through it.
I’m feeling anxious.
This is not being needy. This is not asking for anything. This is not being weak or broken. It’s sharing information. It’s a GIFT to those around us so they can KNOW. So they can understand. So they have the information they need, so they can decide if there’s anything they want to do in response.
You know what else might happen?
They might feel less alone. The words you’re brave enough to say just might be the words they wish they could say. Your example might be the greatest gift you can give them.
The way we’re all feeling is valid.
Let’s let each other in.