“I’m not ok, things are not fine”

When Christian was Mercie’s age, I caught myself unintentionally, but frequently, telling my kids how they should feel. I realized when they would fall, get a shot, cry, etc., I would always respond with, “it’s ok, you’re ok, you’re fine!”
I thought I was helping & comforting & reassuring them until I had this lightbulb moment when I realized,
I haaaate when someone tries to tell me how I feel. Because they’re always wrong, haha.
And I hate when someone belittles or dismisses something that is hard for me.

So when I tell my kids, ‘you’re fine, you’re ok,’ I realized, it wasn’t comforting, it was dismissive. And that could potentially be a thread to them suppressing feelings as they get older.
Here are just some responses I say the most that is comforting & reassuring, BUT ALSO acknowledges their reality: “I know it hurt,” or “I know this is hard, AND…
…it will get better.”
…it will not last.”
…it’s over now.”
…”you are not alone.”
…I’m right here with you.”
…you are safe.”

But really, “I know it hurt,” and “I know this is hard” can also be complete sentences.

I was interviewed on a parenting podcast, so this was fresh on my mind, BUT parenting & kids aside,let me be the one to tell you, in case no-one else is:
YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID B/C THEY ARE YOURS.
YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID B/C YOU ARE FEELING THEM.
They matter. They are important. They are not any less than someone else’s.
You are absolutely not alone. This absolutely will not last.
Better times & better days are within reach!
THE SUN ALWAYS RISES & YOU ARE ALWAYS GOD’S!

xoxAL



MORE FROM AL!
BOOKS:  Wildly Optimistic Gaining New Perspective to Life’s Challenges
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More Than the Tattooed Mormon: HERE
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2 comments

  1. Great reminder, Al. The unhelpful things you used to say to your kids have a name: toxic positivity. We can be toxically positive toward others, but we can also be toxically positive toward ourselves. When we say the same cheery, dismissive things to ourselves, we suppress our legitimate feelings. Instead of working through them and resolving them in a healthy way, we repress them, creating seeping wounds that never heal. The solution is to be as empathetic with ourselves as you suggest we be with others. And you are correct– nothing lasts forever except God’s love.

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