Have you done your time?

At some point after starting school all 3 of my kids have come home saying “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset”.

Well I get upset! It absolutely sends me into a fury.

Now 8 years on from first hearing this ditty, I want to know how we stop promoting children repress their emotions and openly invalidate their feelings and thoughts. Because we are essentially saying; what you feel, what you think doesn’t matter- and what goes into their subconscious?- you don’t matter.

Between 0-5 years a child’s brain wave patterns are such that everything goes into their subconscious mind without analysis. Their analytical brain is developing so prior to that everything just gets taken on as fact.

So lets return back for a moment to the intention behind the rhyme. I completely understand where the teachers are coming from. They want to find a way to give out various coloured shakers to 25 5year olds without any of them crying! What they really mean is that when you get given the green shaker and you really wanted the purple one I don’t want to deal with the fall out.

This is a really powerful point because the truth is no one wants to deal with negative emotions. Not our children’s and certainly not our own. As adults we will do anything to tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel these feelings. We will do anything to avoid feeling them. Like blaming someone else or rationalising every outcome, understanding everyone else’s position and pushing that feeling away because we think we shouldn’t feel it.

What does that amount to? Resistance. We want to change it. We want the external environment to change so we can let go of the emotion internally. We don’t know how to let go without getting what we want externally. We are at the effect of our external world continuously, while everything goes our way we feel good. When we don’t get what we want we feel bad and that my friend is not something any of us like. So we push it down or we fight tooth and nail to change the outside so we can let go on the inside. Insert picture of a toddler at the checkout with the parent denying them lollies.

What happens next? It’s not ok to express these outbursts publicly so generally we either give in or get angry and teach the child to ‘push it down’.

Lets explore the science behind the response. What happens when you get angry, or disappointed, or hurt etc? The end result is a chemical cocktail, which we experience as a feeling. So that feeling has a start middle and an end. It’s like most things and could be graphed on a bell curve. The middle being the zenith, the strongest part and then it wanes.

According to Dr. Bolte Taylor:

Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run.

So the reality is if we allow ourselves these feelings, if we cry it out as a child, (or even as an adult) it passes. That means giving them love and attention while they express their negative emotions. It’s just in those 90 sec it feels pretty bad or in the supermarket it can look pretty bad- maybe like you are not a good parent? The irony is that while ever we try to change it, resist it, we hold onto it and prolong that awful feeling indefinitely. We let that circuit continue to run. Again you’ve seen the child still crying and screaming about the lolly in the car park, in the car seat… They are desperately trying to change the outside situation so they can stop feeling that way. And it works exactly the same way for the parent that desperately wants the child to stop screaming so they can change how they feel inside. That’s where it gets complicated because it brings up all the old stuck negative emotion like anger, sadness, hurt, guilt & fear in ourselves.

The good news is we can teach them and ourselves to feel our negative emotions completely, and let it release through our bodies instead of being stored in our bodies as stuck negative energy. We just have to do our time. 90 sec. 90 seconds of not trying to change ANYTHING. Accepting the response and the reaction.

Inspired by my most detested ditty I created my own:

“It won’t (can’t) be changed, it is just so. Let your feelings come and go.”

But I had to ask myself; Why does this rhyme strike a chord that unleashes such passion and fury in me? Because the truth is that I’m still doing it. I see my own responses mirrored in the rhyme. Every time I rationalise an emotion I am pushing it down. Every time I say “they didn’t mean it, it’s ok. I’m telling myself I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m not accepting what is. I’m not doing my time. I don’t want to face my negative emotions any more than the toddler without the lolly or the 5 year old with the green shaker. However it’s only when we feel completely all the feelings that life has to offer that we can be emotionally intelligent.

Acceptance is what we are striving for.

Being a parent is the fastest way to self improvement, because you need to BE the person you want them to become! ( Dr Joe Dispenza)