“One loses the capacity to grieve as a child grieves, or to rage as a child rages: hotly, despairingly, with tears of passion. One grows up, one becomes civilized, on learns one’s manners, and consequently can no longer manage these two functions—sorrow and anger—adequately.”
The old saying “we teach what we most need to learn” is often cited in training and executive coaching circles. It’s certainly true for me in this subject I keep coming back to in these weekly offerings: learning to recapture and expand as a responsible adult my ability to express what I really feel.
I usually reference my mentor Bob Wright of the Wright Institute in Chicago when exploring the value of becoming more literate in the language of feelings. This week I’ll reference my children, Emily and Levi. Recently we’ve been in conversation about their desire to contact their birth mother for the first time—and it may happen this summer.
A useful question when exploring feelings is “are you mad, sad, glad or afraid?” When I apply it to myself around these recent conversations I notice that what surfaces is my old anger about their birth mom’s behavior; my sadness at some of the pain they’ve endured; my joy erupting as I notice how they are maturing and growing as young adults; and my fear that the possible encounter will not go well for them.
The learning point for me—and I offer it to you for consideration—is that when we heighten our awareness about what we are feeling, when we ask that question about being mad, sad, glad or afraid, the answers are often complex and immensely valuable in our journey toward living an extraordinary life. Comments please.
With love and respect,
P. S. My “seminar in a box,” an 8 CD plus Owner’s Manual program about building a life of meaning and abundance is available at http://www.ExtraordinaryBook.com