Recently I experienced a really tough day. I don’t have many tough days, simply because I choose to look at each day, each experience, as an opportunity for growth and learning. But this one was tough. I was really struggling to keep it together. By the end of the night I could feel myself going down the hole. As I stood in the bathroom taking my make up off, staring at myself in the mirror, wondering “what the heck happened today…” my 19 year-old son entered the hall and asked me how my day went. So, instead of holding it back, I started to tell him about my very tough day. As I got more into it, my emotions took over and I began to cry. As I cried and sputtered words from my heart, I noticed my son backing away from me. It was clear my emotions scared him. I’ve experienced this before and instead of doing what I sometimes do (shut it down in order to keep others safe), I chose to STAY. And then I said this to him: “I notice you are backing away from me and what I really really need is for you to come towards me. Don’t be afraid of my tears. I’m ok. I will be ok. I’m just really disappointed and by releasing this, I’m getting rid of the pent up energy surrounding this event.” With that, he stepped towards me, took me in his arms and held me so tight. For a long time. And I cried. And it felt good. It felt really really good to be held by my son. I felt like he saw me. In that moment we had an incredible heart connection.
We need to teach our boys and men about how awesome emotions are and how they are not something to be feared. We need to talk to them about walking towards emotion, being in it, experience it, in order to let it go and release the energy around it. So often men go into “fix it” mode or “I don’t know what to do with this!” mode, but in reality there is nothing to fix or do. We just need to BE. IN. IT. Together.
How are you modeling for others about BEing with your emotion?