It started the week I began working. Adela had a very rough attitude. She was uspet, sad, or angry about everything.
I am a ridiculously emphatic person. I will feel what anyone around me is feeling. So, my eight-year-old's negative vibes brought me down to a new low. We wallowed in it together. There were way too many tears and raised voices. We could not seem to get out of that cycle.
Finally, afraid that I might commit a terrible act if I did not put an end to the circus, I told her, "You are completely allowed to feel all your feelings, Adela, but I am not going to feel them with you."
Expecting more tears, I was shocked when she erupted into giggles. The giggles turned into full-body laughter and the unicorn on her little pink dress danced with her merriment.
I had to laugh, too. To my young daughter, what I said must have sounded absurd, but for me, it was completely liberating.
If there is a sin that I hold on to tightly, it is the belief that I am responsible for fixing everyone. If someone is sad, I make them happy. If they are angry, I calm them down. If they are anxious, I try to be a peaceful voice.
However, I was listening to a podcast about personalities, and heard a psycologist say that so many emotions must be felt. Sometimes, the most healing thing we can do is settle into the feeling and let it run its course. Only then can we identify the thoughts and memories that hurt us and take a step toward healing.
Also, it definitely is something people need to do for themselves without me running over and covering them with emotional anesthetic.
So, my new motto is, "Feel all those feelings, child. I am just not going to feel them with you."
Adela did eventually figure out the root of all her negativity. I was proud of her voicing her fears and anxieties. Together we worked out new ways of thinking about the changes in our home and school. My happy little girl is back.
When someone you love is hurting, how do you come along side them?
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"...and God was already there with me."