I am surrounded by children. I joke that I have 81 babies, but they stay at the hospital so I sleep through the night. And I’ve noticed that babies and children have an uncanny ability to change moods quickly. They can cry and smile within a few seconds. They can fight and be angry, throw an all out tantrum, and fall asleep less than a minute later. They can play, laugh, and pretend before their tears are even dry.
I admire that. Minus the tantrums!
I take much longer to work up to anger or sadness or fear or joy. I am afraid of letting out emotions at the wrong time. I tend to stuff my anger and fear and sadness and only let it out when it’s reached a certain threshold. I admire children in their immediate communication. “You took my toy! That’s not fair! I’m angry and hurt and I’m not afraid to let you know.” What would my life look like if I told others more freely how their actions affected me? How many more apologies would I need to offer because of my immediate responses? Conversely, how many relationships could be deepened with honest, prompt communication?
Not only do I can my feelings like strawberry jam, but I also stew and stay in my emotion for longer. If I cry during a day, I consider the day over. I feel numb. My nose is swollen, my eyes irritated. I just need to go to bed and start over the next day. I wish I had more of the changeability of childhood to bounce back from an overwhelming emotion. How would my life be different if I had a little more childhood changeability? If I let my emotions out, but didn’t wallow? If I could cry and laugh more freely?
I’ll just try to avoid the tantrums…
Are you an emotion stuffer? How can we safely let some feelings out?