How are you Peeling?
When my Eva was born I was an older, first time mom with lots of ideas. One of them was emotional intelligence. I grew up in a home where my dad was constantly telling us “not to cry” and even as a young person I knew that wasn’t quite right. Being forced or told to deny how I was feeling was tantamount to invalidating the feelings all together. I vowed I would do better, and I am.
Or, at least I am trying.
When our oldest daughter was little, I remember the intentionality when buying Eva How are You Peeling: Foods with Moods, a children’s book by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers.
How are you feeling?
Feeling blue? Feeling bad?
Can a gentle smiling friend try to cheer you up again? . . .
How are you when friends drop by?
With someone new . . . a little shy?
This book was much loved by our first and has been handed down well-worn to our sweet Sofia. The author brilliantly uses rhymed text paired with illustrations of the most expressive produce (from kiwis to poblanos) you ever did see to talk about emotions I absolutely love this book for the way it encourages kids to talk about how they are feeling. It is also a useful tool in getting children to articulate a wide range of moods. And, I believe that kids that are able to communicate how they are feeling grow into adults capable of the same.
How are You Feeling?
Momma, what about you?
Is it easy for you to talk about how you’re feeling?
Are you able to talk comfortably and articulate your moods? One of the questions I’ve been challenged with recently is whether or not I really allow myself to experience what I am feeling – or do I mute it, move past it and dismiss as unimportant?
My youngest daughter is three years old and her emotions, like any child her age, run hot and cold. She is so expressive in how she experiences all of them that there is little doubt in our home about how Sofia is feeling at any given time. If she is sad or scared there are tears, angry and we have raised voices and when she is joyful you can find her singing and dancing here way through the house. Even as a baby she was super expressive.
I’ve never seen her sit and try to mentally convince herself she isn’t or shouldn’t be feeling something she is feeling. Three year olds (thankfully) are not that adept at beating themselves emotionally in submission.
Unfortunately, by the time we’re 40 something years old we can become especially adept at this particular skill set. Some of us have mastered the “no time for that” self-talk to the point of not even realizing that we’re doing it. We might not consistently do it will all of our emotions, perhaps just a certain few that we are more troubling to us than others. Perhaps you’re uncomfortable with anger, not sure how to process it and afraid to allow yourself to experience it for fear you will lose control. Maybe you tend to shove your anger aside and push through life with one of those “Keep Calm and Carry On” signs plastered to your backside. Sister, let me tell you, there is a better way.Emotional intelligence isn't just a buzz word, it's a necessary skill set for a whole and healthy life. #HowAreYouFeeling #EmotionalIntelligence Click To Tweet
The Disney Pixar’s movie Inside Out, is another wonderful resource providing not just a great window into the emotions of a preteen girl – but also an easy platform for the rest of us to consider our emotions, how we are feeling and how we let ourselves experience it all. Some of us might do well to take our cue from this great movie.
I’m too sad to walk. Just give me a few…hours.
Sadness, Inside Out
One Tough Cookie
Perhaps you’re wondering why any of this matters. You’ve managed to stuff those feelings this long and “no one is the wiser” or it hasn’t done any “real” harm.
“What’s the problem?” You ask.
Maybe you never learned what you should do with the anger you feel. You’ve chose to either never express it and then find yourself avoiding those people and relationships for or toward which you are experiencing anger. Or, on the other hand you lose complete control of your anger and permanently damage your relationships and alienate yourself. Anger, avoided and unchecked can leave us feeling isolated and lonely.
Perhaps, you have a “tough cookie” mentality. You’re not the type to allow yourself to wallow. Instead, you are constantly prodding yourself along with the mantra of “it could be worse.” For you there’s no time or nor cause to be sad or hurt. And so maybe you turn to food to make yourself feel better. You turn to food for solace and comfort and to mute the hurt, the stress, the fear. Either way, that tough cookie mentality leads to one too many cookies over the years and while they do increase your waistline it does nothing to address how you’re feeling.
Teaching our children how to express, recognize and understand their emotions prepares them to interact socially and physically with the rest of the world. As adults, we would do well to revisit the same lessons we want to extend to our children. It’s important for us as mothers to consider and reconsider the messages we have communicated to ourselves over the years about our feelings and how we should respond and or express them.If we want to raise emotionally intelligent children we must take time to develop our own emotional intelligence. #HowAreYouFeeling #EmotionalIntelligence Click To Tweet
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet one of the most powerful in the imagery it creates. Jesus wept upon receiving the news that his friend Lazarus had died. The friend he could have prevented from dying, a charge Jesus is met with from Lazarus’ sister Mary. And in response to the weeping and sadness around him we see Jesus, the resurrector, the chosen one, the alpha and omega also weep.
Jesus felt sadness and great loss and allowed himself to express his emotion in response to what He was feeling. He allowed himself to express what he was feeling even though He knew that this was not the end of Lazarus’ story. Jesus allows himself to give in to his emotions even though He knew with certainty that Lazarus would not be dead for long.When faced with the death of Lazarus, Jesus did not dismiss the significance of what He was feeling. He wept. #HowAreYouFeeling #EmotionalIntelligence Click To Tweet
Friend, perhaps you’re doing just fine with all the feels going on in your life. But, if you’re like me, I think we’ve all taken in a few cues about how to deal with what we are feeling. I’m also certain that some of these cues are not the healthiest and most emblematic of the type of emotional intelligence we aspire to have. I hope and pray that this week you take some time to get quiet and really consider your own emotional well being. Ask God to reveal to you areas where you might need improvement in processing certain feelings and pray for the wisdom in how you best do so. And, at the end of the week when your household is tired and in need of some downtime and a good laugh rent Inside Out and take the next step in discussing with your kids their feelings.