By Sophie Barcant,
BA (Psyc), B.ED
We’ve tried to maintain control while isolating. We’ve tried setting up new routines for ourselves and our children, teaching them, entertaining them, and doing our work in between.
We are also trying to be understanding, empathetic and maintain our own peace but we are stumbling and failing… as Peter did when he denied his teacher, friend, leader. We fall as Jesus our Saviour did as He carried His cross.
Are we feeling guilty for feeling resentful, irritable and frustrated, angry, bored, lazy and neglectful? Are “shoulds” echoing constantly in our heads, telling us we should be doing this and should be doing that?
All these emotions are normal and to be expected now and in normal times. Let’s be mindful that our children, spouses and extended family are also feeling versions of these emotions too.
Many are experiencing waves of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and panic. Lashing out, criticising, blaming those around us or withdrawing are ways we tend to behave when we suppress the discontented emotions.
This is a golden opportunity to learn and teach our children Emotional Intelligence, and emotional agility. You may have been raised in a family where it was forbidden to express strong, non-happy emotions such as anger and frustration. There are non-damaging ways to express and cope with anger. I will explore this in the next article.
Suppressed emotions often lead to a hardened heart lacking compassion for others or to depression, anxiety and even compromised memory and clear thinking.
As parents who are primary teachers and models of our children, let’s teach them now how to cope with our own real feelings of fear, uncertainty, resentment and anger.
Let’s get up, rise victoriously, as Jesus did, after His many falls and crucifixion. We can call on Him and our very real guardian angels to support us with strength and grace to recognise, admit, name, accept and speak about our feelings like saying sorry, forgiving seventy times seven, when needed.
Let’s go humbly to those we are lashing out at to ask for mercy and we will receive mercy, at least from Our Lord anyway, as He poured mercy out on Peter after the denial.
Some of us were raised in homes of conflict so we avoid conflict as adults.
Here courage is needed more than ever to communicate our feelings.
Brene Brown, a modern-day guru on courage and vulnerability offers us a lot of guidance on this extremely liberating practice.
The healing power of being vulnerable, admitting to others how we feel and that we have made a mistake or that we don’t know answers the world thinks we ‘should’ know is priceless.
There is hardly a better time to bow low, not in defeat but in salvific humility, onto our knees, in our private corner to turn to Our Merciful Father asking for grace to be deeply sorry for the unforgiveness we have held towards our very own relatives and friends.
We are giving our children one of the greatest gifts we can ever give, by teaching them to do the same. As a matter of fact, it is said the greatest gift we can give our children is harmony in our marriage.
Besides abandoning ourselves to God’s will, the interior freedom, of mind and soul that we gain from forgiveness, is also priceless.
Letting go of hurtful memories, of how we or our dear loved ones were unjustly treated requires much divine grace. Jesus said, “ask and you shall receive”. I don’t believe Our Lord can ignore a request for grace to forgive and reconcile. God has gifted so many wise people throughout the ages with wisdom on how to heal from hurt and resentment. Let’s seek them out to learn from them: many saints, Nelson Mandela, Brene Brown and the 12 Step programme to name a few.
Follow Sophie’s parenting approaches drawn from Love and Logic and Positive Discipline on www.sophiesparentingsupport.com,
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