So in the midst of a pretty rough therapy session the other night, I made an offhand mention of my previous two blog posts. We really didn’t talk much about it, but V. said something that has been resonating in my head ever since:
“Be careful not to mislabel the sadness that’s inside of you.”
Now, that may not seem very profound on the first read, but go back and read it again. Then really think about it.
How many times do we attribute our emotions to generic terms like “stress” or “fatigue”? When my kids were younger, and they’d say something that was kind of a blanket statement, I’d try to get them to dig deeper to articulate the actual issue. For example, “I hate my teacher” usually wasn’t really accurate. Instead, it was frustration that a huge assignment was given over a weekend when they had plans, or they got blamed for talking in class when it was another student, or some other particular incident. Addressing the generic doesn’t help resolve the actual problem, which is what I always told them.
So I haven’t had a whole lot of time, yet, to ponder the intricacies of her advice. I need to unravel the threads of this and see what I can discern. V. went on to remind me that I “have a lot going on in [my] life right now,” and she’s right. It would make sense, I guess, that those things would blend together and become difficult to tell one from another. It’ll be interesting to see what I find when I start digging, and while I’m not afraid of it, I do have to wonder just how long of a shovel I’ll need.
Our emotional state is no one’s responsibility but our own. It seems though, that the more we let ourselves get away with blanket statements and generic excuses, the less we have to face our own demons. Hiding from them only works for so long, though, until they stage their own uprising .
Your turn – what sadness are you hiding from?