Our Emotions; where they take us; what can we do to change our moods.
This is another letter from my daughter, Penny van Heerden, in Okinawa, Japan. It deals with how her daughter, Sahratia, aka Shisa, which is Lion Dog in Japanese, inspires her.
How important are our emotions and how do we deal with children's emotions.
A few notes as to how Penny's daughter brings out her emotions and how they are dealt with.
I have been hearing from a few different sources that we should teach ourselves to feel positive emotions, but have to admit I haven't really bought it.
Sure we can try and focus on the positive rather than the negative, we can look for solutions to problems and relax and enjoy the good parts of life. However, I figured, if I feel sad, then I feel sad. If I feel angry, or depressed or stressed then that is just how I feel.
Recently though, I have had to rethink my ideas. Sahratia is 3 and right now she is learning about emotions. It is quite amazing to watch her play. She will get two dolls and one moment they will be fighting, then the next they will be hugging and kissing. Then the imaginary game goes on. 15 minutes later I will hear her crying and go into her room to find her and her two dolls lying on the floor, all, apparently, sobbing their hearts out. When I ask what is wrong, she will either ignore me or give me a dirty look. She will then gather up her dolls and say in a tearful voice, "I'm sorry, I love you." Then they will hug a bit and 5 minutes later they will be jumping off the bed laughing. The number of emotions she manages to go through in a 20 minute time period would make your head spin.
Occasionally however, she will get stuck. She will be crying and depressed and not want to play or sing or talk. She will let me cuddle her but not her father. No amount of cuddling helps though as the truth is she doesn't know why she feels sad, she just does. The best solution I have found is to get her to do something physical. So far the easiest and quickest way to get her out of the doldrums is to give her a bucket of water, a scrubbing brush and tell her to clean the verandah. She agrees, sniffing sadly and less than 5 minutes later I hear her happily singing away as she slops water around.
I have to admit that cleaning the verandah would not help me but going for a walk would. Generally if I am in a bad mood, whether angry, depressed or just generally miserable the last thing I feel like doing is getting up and going out. I am much more likely to just lie around doing nothing and feeling worse when the whole day passes and I haven't actually accomplished anything. I feel guilty about the tasks I could have done but didn't. (That huge pile of ironing hiding in the spare cupboard constantly pushes the guilty button.) I feel annoyed at the fact that I could have done something differently etc etc. On the occasions when I do force myself to actually get up and go out, whether for a walk or a martial arts training practice I make a deal with myself that I will go for 15 minutes and then go home. I have never gone home after 15 minutes. By the end of the 15 minutes I am happy and enjoying myself. Afterwards I feel energised and positive and the former misery is completely gone.
Yup, we feel emotions, we feel sad, or angry or stressed but we can change that. We just have to find our own individual way of doing that whether it be going for a walk or cleaning the verandah. It seems we really do learn emotions and if we learn emotions then it is just as important to learn what to do about them.
Would you like me to post more articles about Penny?
Penny van Heerden, wife, mother, writer, traveller, Natal Paragliding Champion, Sensei and Fifth Dan at Karate and Kobudo and Fourth Dan at Iado.
Do you want know more about Penny and her life with Sahratia?
She has published her first book "Sahratia in Okinawa", and this is now available
Sahratia in Okinawa by Penny van Heerden
Available for instant download. Contains many photographs and shows what a lovely place Okinawa is.