It starts early.

Well meaning people telling us how to feel (and how not to feel).

When we are little and we take a fall, our loved ones immediately tell us, “You’re okay!!” before they even give us an opportunity to assess the situation ourselves.

Am I okay?

They seem to think so.

Maybe I don’t feel okay.

Maybe I feel scared, or hurt, or confused about what just happened…

But they said I’m okay.

I must be okay if they think so.

I guess I’m okay.

{But what if I’m not okay? Is it okay to not be okay?}


We send a confusing message when we tell a child how to feel.  Maybe we tell them not to get so angry, not to get so frustrated, not to upset people with the truth of how they feel.

Yes, we should teach our children strategies for coping with life. Yes, we should teach them that there are appropriate times and places in which to fully express their feelings.  We should teach them to be kind as well…but not at the expense of teaching them its okay to feel how they feel.

We must teach them it’s okay to feel…

ALL

THE

THINGS….

Not just the one’s that make other people feel comfortable…

Not just the one’s that feel comfortable to us.

I even do it to myself sometimes, muttering under my breath, “You’re okay” even when maybe I’m not. Not in that moment.

It’s the first thing I said to my ex when he revealed a life changing secret to me….

“It’s okay.  We will be okay.”

Is it? Are we? Is he? 

How could I know?

When I take the long view, I think…

Yes – we will be okay.

But there’s a whole lot to feel about the situation besides okay. We can’t brush those feelings aside without allowing ourselves (and each other) to feel them.

So…

When life gets hard, or when my children stumble and fall, I want them to know they have permission to assess the damages themselves.

I will let them feel.

I will listen.

I will let them decide whether or not they are okay.

They will know that whatever they’re feeling…

THAT is okay.
 

 

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