I have made so many mistakes this year.
Soon I started to feel like I don’t know anything anymore. And that I’m about to loose my mind or I will run away. Conrad can attest to it. All my book smarts were useless as I felt swept under the vortex of emotions in my tiny household.
I’m going to share with you a strange piece of advice I got. “Insulate yourself from the emotions of your kid/spouse.” Let them live their emotions, acknowledge them, but don’t internalize them all. It goes against our nature as moms/wives. But as our kids grow more independent we can and should have independent emotions. And our husbands are big boys.
Discomfort is part of growing up. And I admit I let my kids face their discomfort with practiced anticipation.
I used to be terribly uncomfortable with other peoples emotions. Especially depression. I mean, sadness and tears are welcomed in my spectrum of comfort. Even anger is fine. It doesn’t disturb me. I rose above it and confront it, in others and me.
But deep hopeless sadness makes me uneasy. I don’t know what to say. I wait it out. But while I may come across as confidently present, I fret inwardly. I wish time away.
This fall though, as my husband expressed his difficult emotions based on difficult circumstances, a frustrating and fearsome diagnosis, the unknown, the hopelessness, I sat across the chair from him and didn’t look away. I did not feel burdened, afraid, anxious to run away from the present. I took it all in, aware and yet calm. It was a strange feeling of complete confidence. I had made a conscious decision to love while no stepping into the darkness to see what they see, to feel what they feel. My insecurity in my ability to empathize with others pushed me beyond my omits of comfort to feel with my friends feel, and then quickly experience a sort of anxiety that I don’t know what to do or how to process or help.
Oh, the beauty of letting others feel their feelings but not taking them on fully, may serve your loved ones better, more effectively.
I learned this, not very well at first, but the concept became familiar and more comfortable with practice, to insulate my self from my kids big emotions. At bed time especially, or at School drop off, or at the doctor. Staying cool, confident, calm, present, encouraging, hopeful… if you feel it reflect your kids exacerbated emotions, you can’t lead them out of their despair or anxiety.
Lead the way with clarity, calm your heart, your mind, stay out of the whole to help them up. Don’t go in to wallow with them, lured by the desire to make them feel no alone.