So feelings. Powerful things. Learning a lot about them. Mostly - there is no such thing as a bad feeling. What we can and should change is how we deal with them. And what I'm learning is that we come from a generation of people who wasn't all that great at allowing feelings and modeling good behavior with regard to feelings.
I read this quote from Bears receiver Brandon Marshall about Incognito bullying a team mate:
“Look at it from this standpoint,” Marshall said. “Take a little boy and a little girl. A little boy falls down and the first thing we say as parents is ‘Get up, shake it off. You’ll be OK. Don’t cry.’ A little girl falls down, what do we say? ‘It’s going to be OK.’ We validate their feelings. So right there from that moment, we’re teaching our men to mask their feelings, to not show their emotions.Wow. He's right. And I think that we not only do that with little boys, but we also do it with little girls. We do it because we don't want kids thinking that every small thing is a big issue and getting upset about it. But we, because I've done it too, go about it the wrong way at times.
So as an adult, I've learned that my feelings are valid at the time that I'm experiencing them. I'm ok to feel that way. But I can be positive and proactive and learn how to take control of the feelings. I'm the person who creates BIG balloons of details about something I perceive in my head, when I could stem that process by just asking questions about the issue.
Pete sells Body By Vi and has a multitude of customers. He often times offers locals not only the shakes, but personal help in starting a weight loss/fitness program. At times it's very demanding. In the last week, there were several days that he spent more time with a couple of customers than me. After a few days I started building this story in my head about how he didn't want to spend time with me, how he was leaving me behind, how he would rather be out with others. In the past, I would have let this go and build and build. But this time, I chose to just tell Pete that I was feeling lonely and left out. 1 sentence. No confrontation. No big story. You know what happened? He validated my feelings, realized that he hadn't made time for me and we planned a night out. Solved.
It. Was. Awesome.
It felt powerful and calming and loving.
So, the next time you catch yourself telling someone (child or adult) to shake off their feelings, think about how you're doing it. Can you validate the feeling and share ways to deal with it in a positive and loving manner? Try it!