Monday, June 22, 2015

Emotional Outpourings: The importance of being honest about our feelings

I have three kids. One of whom is a four year old daughter. So when that really popular, to this day, movie came out about Anna and Elsa, we saw it. We (I) was excited to go to an opening weekend that wasn't for a super hero or used bathroom humor to move the plot along.

In case you aren't familiar with the plot, the story centers around two sisters in the lands of Sweden who become estranged from each other due to some extreme life circumstances. Thru a few songs and plucky side kicks, the main characters take their separate journeys that eventually bring them back to one another and the power of love makes all the wrongs right.

The younger sister is named Anna and she is starved for affection after years of living as an only child to royal parents that she gives her heart away quickly to the first person to give her a passing glance. She is on a journey to find her sister and attempt to make their relationship whole again.

Elsa is the older sister. Destined to take the throne after her parents, she is also born with the gift to make ice. As with most giftings, this is first seen as a blessing. With the innocence of children the two sisters explore and have fun with the talents of Elsa. But when an accident causes Anna to become injured, the girl's parents rush to get Anna help and in the process, the first lesson in shutting down is taught to Elsa. The parents take an extreme approach in teaching their daughter Elsa to keep the most wonderful part of herself secret. To shut herself off from anyone who could love her because she is afraid of hurting them.

Through out the movie we see these two beautiful ladies have encounters with others. Over and over again the girls are questioning what to do and say. Because they didn't have the opportunity to learn honestly how to interact with others, they project a false sense of themselves or completely shut themselves away.

We often do this. We start out open and unafraid to be ourselves, and then something happens. It doesn't have to be tragic. We just need to hear a bit of reproach or maybe a raised voice in reaction to what we do and then begins a lesson to shut down a behavior. If we get that same message enough about a big part of ourselves, we can find it difficult to know how or who to be. Even not understanding who we are as a person. We spend the rest of our lives striving to be something we are not.

I'm not saying we should let every child from the moment of birth do whatever they want to do. To follow their every impulse would be disastrous. Children do need coaching about how to act. But we should be very careful in how we direct a child. I confess I have not used a gentle voice to instruct my kids. And I often tend to correct behaviors that could be seen as embarrassing to the world around us but are rather innocent.

But I'm learning to be more gentle. To push a child delicately towards the goals and dreams they have and not always dictate what they would do. I'm trying to help them figure out how to solve their own problems instead of stepping in. I don't know that I get it right every day, but I'm starting to see little buds of confidence in my kids because they are learning to trust themselves and let the best parts of their personalities shine. 

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