DAY #181 LAYERING EMOTIONS (again)


BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 41

My daughter was struggling last week. She didn’t really know why she was struggling. And I didn’t know why, either. And I honestly think that struggling is okay. Being tired is okay. Being upset is okay. Being disappointed in okay. Being uncomfortable is okay. One of the meditations I’ve written for myself says, “Don’t be in such a hurry to move from uncomfortable to comfortable.” All emotions are okay.

But she didn’t think her negative emotions were okay. She was overwhelmed, and then she was disappointed with herself for feeling overwhelmed. This is a textbook case of primary emotion and secondary emotion, right?

“When you think about a primary emotion, that is just the emotion that feels appropriate in any given situation… It is emotion that is necessary to process.”

And there is a time to preach this to my children. But usually it is not in the moment. So, I wrote my daughter a letter:

I love the line in that Moana song, the one that she is singing to Te Fiti: “But this does not define you. This is not who you are.” God knows who you are.

I remember a night, years ago, when I was crying, angry. I thought I was angry at someone who had been unkind to me. But I was really angry at myself for not being perfect – for not being able to be kind, and for caring so much what others thought. I remember that night. Your dad took my red swollen face in his hands gently, and he looked me in my eyes, and he said insistently, “This is not you. This is not you.”

And I realized that my anger, my grief, my fears, my insecurities – those emotions did not define me. Those were emotions, they were what I was experiencing. But they were not me.

My brain wanted me to believe that that crazy woman inside of me was ME. Why? Because my monkey brain wanted to protect me. If I was angry, then I wouldn’t try to reach out and mend the breech, and I wouldn’t get hurt.

We all experience all emotions, and those emotions go away. But I do not go away – RACHEL is still here.

You and I are very similar. We both have darling noses. How could anyone resist us! We are also both up for an adventure! We want to try new and exciting things! That is SUCH a blessing to us. Not only because we are willing and excited to experience new countries, new cultures, new mediums of art, new relationships, etc. But because we are willing to try new ways of learning and coping and working with our emotions.

I think being in quarantine has been hardest on this teenage daughter. Her social needs are more complicated than the boys’. And, though I am anxious to help her, I am even more anxious to help her help herself. I worry that I have just handed her answers too frequently. I ask too few questions and require too little thinking on her part.

Every day I teach a homeschool lesson to the children. I love the idea of teaching them what I want them to know, especially while I have this time.

I’ve been spending some time with a specific podcast that talks about being an “architect” of memories. Today, in homeschool, I want to ask the children, What do you think we can do to make incredible memories over this time of quarantine?

I had one idea. We could, as a family, journal everyday 1) What do you look forward to today? 2) This week? 3) This month? And they can journal these things in their Coronavirus journals Bry bought them – he’s so cute. And we can review them each morning during our breakfast family meeting.

That is what I came up with. And let’s see what they come up with!

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Next DAY #182 IF YOU WANT DIFFERENT RESULTS, THEN DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

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