Such a random quirk about adult life. So many adults I hear saying ‘its ok to cry’ and ‘dont bottle it all up, just let it out’. Some adults spend years struggling with this, knowing that on paper it’s a healthy thing to do but never giving themselves permission to actually be sad, be angry or to feel scared about something. Listening to that little voice in their head that says ‘its a bit much’ or ‘i’m just being over sensitive’.
A lot of adults struggle with it so much that they spend years taking magic pills or self medicate in other ways (wine, food, shopping sprees) to make these perceived ‘negative’ emotions go away. Or they might spend a lot of money on a therapist trying to reconnect with their lost emotions and figure out what the hell is going on in their life.
As adults we all seem to know expressing emotion is good. Burying emotions is bad. Yet almost every day I witness an adult sshhing a child because they are sad and crying, getting frustrated with them, or distracting them from their real feelings with a toy or a treat, or even directly asking them not to cry ‘ahhh little one its ok, don’t cry’. Mainly I think because as adults we believe that our job is to ‘fix’ all the hurts and if our child is crying then we are not doing our job well enough.
Children seem to be born fiercely comfortable with experiencing and expressing their emotions. It is us adults, who ‘educate’ them out of doing so.
So here’s a radical idea next time you see a child crying. Don’t take it personally, don’t be offended, or feel like they are demanding something more from you that you can give, don’t frantically search around for the magic cure or the thing to ‘fix’ the feeling for them. Just sit there, embrace them and tell them you understand they feel sad, that life can be really sad sometimes. Let them have that feeling and show by your actions that it’s ok. You don’t need them to stop crying until they are ready, show you solidarity by being there with them to let it all out.
Wouldn’t it be a crazy thing if the next generation have a chance of staying more connected to their emotions, not to hide them away or mask them with pretend happiness when other people are around? Let’s not teach them how to use treats as a way to self medicate from an early age. As adults lets put our money where our mouth is and stop talking about how it’s healthy to ‘let it out’ and actually show children that it is ok to cry, we are not upset by it.