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There are 5 Natural Emotions that all humans feel and need to express.
Love, Grief, Fear, Envy, and Anger.
Unfortunately, most of us were not allowed to fully express these feelings as children and struggle now as an adult.
The problem is, when the 5 natural human emotions are not allowed healthy expression, they turn into unnatural emotions that become very hard to work with.
Unexpressed Love becomes Possession.
Grief to Depression.
Fear to Panic.
Envy to Jealousy.
Anger to Rage.
Let’s take Grief on for a moment.
A lot of people think of Grief as losing someone you love.
But there are many other things in life that we may grieve for.
And for children, grief is very different.
They can experience grief by losing a favorite toy or blanket.
This can be hard for parents to understand.
“It’s just a blanket, we say…I will buy you a brand new one.”
But it’s not the same.
We need to take the time to see our children, tap into the feelings they are having and help them to move through them- without distraction or dismissal.
This is not an easy thing to do. It is a daily practice.
It requires that we realize that parenting is about us, not the child.
Even when our 3 year old throws themselves down in the grocery store and starts to scream and cry.
Take a moment and picture a parent standing over their child, demanding that they stop crying, threatening them, getting worked up and angry at them…
Which looks worse, the crying child, or the panicking adult?
But why do we panic?
We have our own “thoughts” around what it means when our children let loose, but we also fear the judgements from the people around us.
Can we take a pause here and agree as a community to support one another in bringing love, acceptance, support, and non judgement, as the adults on this planet allow our children to express their feelings without shame?
When you see this happening, look at the child with love.
Offer the parent a supportive look, or even say, “You are doing a great job.”
Our nonverbal communication is so powerful.
We are able to express all 5 of the natural human emotions nonverbally.
The best thing we can do when our children are having a big reaction, is to stay quiet. Observe. Be aware. Allow the child to feel the emotion fully in their body and know it is a natural part of them.
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So many adults were not allowed to express their grief as children, which contributes to the high number of clinically depressed individuals today.
If you were not allowed to express love, maybe you have become possessive of your children or your spouse.
If you were not allowed to feel fear, you may be feelings panicked about everything as an adult. Or, you don’t want to show your panic so you simply try to control everything…
Now more than ever we need to be a spiritual partner for our children.
With the ability to connect, confide, and share with the entire planet, will we be the ones our children come to when they are struggling?
What happens when we react to our children with judgement, fear, reprimands, criticism, etc?
They take their deepest feelings and thoughts elsewhere.
What they really want is to be trusted and heard.
Can we truly be there for them without inserting our own agenda?
It’s hard. We have so many unexpressed emotions ourselves that need to be released. But after years of holding onto them, how do we begin to release them?
Acknowledgement is the first step.
Acknowledging that you might be part of the problem and taking responsibility for your part of the disconnection.
Our children are not intentionally “defying” us, trying to “trigger” us, or wanting to be “bad”.
They need us to understand that all behavior stems from an attempt to meet a basic need. So let’s get curious.
What could they be needing?
What could we be needing?
It is not our job to control them. We have to own the feelings we have about whatever our children are doing.
We all deserve to have the 5 natural human emotions to be a part of our journey.
Feelings cannot be wrong, they just are.
As a parent we have to be careful not to dump our emotions onto our children and hold them responsible for the way we feel.
When we can allow our children to express their natural emotions, without feeling responsible for them, a real partnership in life can begin.
A place of trust, understanding, and love.
This goes for any age and any relationship.
We have to move into a place of curiosity instead of judgement.
Most of the time, we are not fighting to be right, we are fighting to be heard.
When we can allows ourselves and the ones we love to fully experience our natural emotions, the dynamic of our relationships will change dramatically.
Another helpful tip that Laurie offers is to erase 2 words from your vocabulary, Success and Failure.
These are illusions.
Children have no idea what these words mean until we bring them into their lives.
Ask yourself what is really important as your child goes through school.
Is it that they are given an “A”, or that they develop good social skills, build their emotional intelligence, have empathy for others, find love, and are truly, truly happy?
Can we breathe into our lives and allow them to breathe into their own lives, stay authentic to their own paths?
There is a beauty in acknowledging that our children come through us, not to us. It frees everyone.
Some parents may get stuck in the idea of sacrifice. The “I must sacrifice everything I want and need for my children” mode.
This is not true and not healthy.
Our children want us to flourish just as much as we want them to flourish.
When we model for them how to stay true to our path, honor our heart, and love our daily lives, this gives them permission to do the same.
Our children are giving us one of the greatest gifts we can receive,
they are standing there as “mirrors” showing us all the places we need to grow.
In this interview we also touch on how the natural emotion of envy is the source of a lot of sibling rivalry and how not to let this turn into jealousy by shutting down that emotion.
Allowing our children to express their natural emotions fully, even a wild tantrum, mean they are not storing this stress in their body.
We speed through a lot of ideas and concepts through this conversation.
If you find that this brought something up for you, you have deeper questions, or need clarification, please do not hesitate to ask!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or comment below this episode.
Ways to connect with Laurie Lankins Farley:
Here’s a link to her book, Conversations With God for Parents: Sharing the Messages with Children (Conversations With Humanity)