Treating my feelings like I treat my children

I woke up this morning checking out first thing, “How is my state of being without having to try to fix anything on day three of living in agape love?” I discovered I felt so loved by Papa God. I felt peace and joy. Even though  I only got about three hours of sleep. I imagined how I might feel if someone rejected me big time–like told a lie about me or maybe even the truth about something I had done that I am not happy with.

I noticed a feeling of fear rising up. Immediately I felt drawn to take that feeling into my heart, where I was sitting. I took the feeling onto my lap, and held it. “Are you feeling afraid, because you just really want people to love you?” I said gently and lovingly?

“Yes,” my feeling sad sadly. “But there’s more. I yearn for a world where everyone talks to each other directly about things that are going on with them. I just want to say a little prayer right now.”

Dear God, please help our world that is so messed up in so many ways. And help me to be a person who contributes to this planet being a place where everyone thrives. Show me what I can do to help make that happen. Help me to be honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Help me be a person of character. Help me live in agape love all the time.”

My feeling of fear then left and thanked me for my kindness.

From the time my children were born, it was for the most part easy for me to honor and empathize with their feelings, recognizing their uncomfortable feelings as expressions of needs. Having had the good fortune of learning directly from Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication and the movement that is really spreading around the world rapidly,  it was easy for me to understand this connection between feelings and needs. Holley Humphrey was also a teacher who used colorful visuals and examples that brought the model alive for me.

For the past twenty years I have for the most part practiced non-violent communication with my children because they are so innocent and loving. Even when they got older and chose to challenge me more, I valued that they were thinking for themselves and becoming people whom I admired and respected. We could always work things out.

Yet it has been harder dealing with both my feelings and other people’s feelings. Living in a consciousness of agape love with myself and others ofte isa challenge. But waking up this morning, and for possibly the first time ever spontaneously experiencing my feeling of fear as if it were one of my dear children, felt delightfully warm. I could get used to treating my feelings this way!

In the past, accepting my uncomfortable feelings has been more like an exercise that I was supposed to do. I learned that I was supposed to love and nurture my inner child so I could re-parent it and heal my past. I tried it, but it didn’t feel real. I didn’t really think that there was a little child living in me separately.

But a feeling is very real. Seeing the feeling through the eyes of love–like my Papa God does for me–shifts my focus from “Oh no, not another bad feeling” to “here is an innocent child in need of help. Let me cradle her in my arms. Let me hold her on my lap. I enjoy letting her cry and express. I know without a doubt that she will get in touch with her needs and be happy again. What a privilege.”

I still do this with my real children. In the past few months my twenty year old has done a lot of stretching in terms of accomplishments and setting goals for himself.  He has also gotten in touch with a lot of uncomfortable feelings that would express themselves as irritation and frustration. Three times I asked him if he wanted to talk, and he was willing. He was able to cry and share deep feelings of distress. What else would I have ever wanted to do in that moment? What greater pleasure could I have but to see my grown son going deep into his being to find out what these feelings were pointing towards–what needs were present–what beliefs might be clouding his thoughts. I cry as I think about this because I feel so touched that he would continue to trust me to this day…in spite of the fact that many times I wanted to leave–and some times did.

My daughter also has had a mounting number of concerns as she goes through puberty and experiences all the challenges this time brings. For the past three weeks I haven’t seen her much.  We are living apart these days because I am working so much in town, I call her daily. If she is in any way not in her inherently happy, joyful self, she shares what is going on. I offer her empathic listening, reflecting back feelings and needs–not jumping to advice as our society encourages us to do. 99 percent of the time she feels better–and if she doesn’t, she can also talk to her father who knows the value of being present.

The reason it is easy for me to be loving and vulnerable with my children is that I know without a doubt that they love me, and are not going to hold negative feelings against me for long. So I am courageous and more than willing to offer empathy to them and listen to whatever is going on–even if it is dissatisfaction with my behaviour. I am so happy to express my regrets at acting in ways that do not contribute to their well being. This helps me change for the better.

And so I go back to my feelings. They love me. They want the best for me. They are safe. I can treat them as wise children who have my best interests at heart. Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” I will say, “let all the feelings come to me.  I will treat you as respectfully and lovingly as my children. I will experience helping you find out what your needs and non-helpful beliefs and judgements are. We can explore together, and make this into a prayer–asking Papa God to help us get this need met.”

I am able to be compassionate with adults. But often they are less receptive to my empathic listening unless they are one of my clients. My organizing clients trust me and value me being present with them. But I want to be able to be vulnerable, empathic, and unconditionally loving with all people–including and especially my partner Robert who I value so much in my life.

If I have in any way contributed to you having pain, would you be willing to tell me so that I can understand and we can have reconciliation? I have a great need to help heal the pain in myself and others because I have acted in less than nurturing ways.

I appreciate that you read this, and would enjoy  knowing if this contributed to your well being.

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One thought on “Treating my feelings like I treat my children

  1. What a beautiful way to look at your feelings! Your experience has given me a new way to look at mine and treat them with respect and love. I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety about the direction of my life these days. I feel that God has a plan but I haven’t learned how to rest in His wisdom and fully trust that He will do what’s best for me.

    I have some catching up to do with my feelings and perhaps by giving them the attention they need, instead of shoving them aside, I will come to a place of true peace and calm.

    Thank you!

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