4. Our emotions have a job to do for us; they help us navigate our lives. Because each emotion offers us a “signal,” each indicates what we need to do next, related to the situations in which our emotions arise. Feeling love, for example, suggests we “come closer.” Feeling fear suggest we “watch out.” Parents need to learn these “signals” and teach them to children, so they know better what to do when their emotions attempt to get their attention. (Get a free list of the signals of 7 everyday emotions at www.emotionalpro.com)
5. If we hold our emotions inside, and don’t listen to them, they grow—sometimes getting “ugly.” When we hold water behind a dam, it begins to build up. The water is always ready to escape, especially through a hole in the dam. This is how energy works. When we hold emotions inside and don’t allow them to move on, they build up similarly, looking to escape at the first possible upset. Parents can help children to know how to feel, process, learn from and release emotions, to avoid this.
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6. Some emotions are more active than others, meaning that when we hold them inside, they have more of an effect on us. Choosing to hold onto emotions, rather than allowing them to move through and away from us, can create negative consequences for us. Anger, for example, is our most active emotion. When we hold onto it, anger continues to work (move), even if we’re not aware of feeling angry. It can negatively impact the way we perceive, block our success, destroy our self-esteem and set the stage for physical illnesses. Parents need to advise kids that holding emotions inside is ill-advised, unless it is an emotion like love, that we want to build inside of us.
7. Emotions are always with us, talking to us about what is best for us to do. Emotions don’t sleep; they’re at work 24/7. They can’t tell time, and will easily show up 30 years after a highly-charged experience, especially if we put ourselves in a similar situation. Even if we don’t listen to them, emotions are giving us feedback, like a television that is never turned off. It’s important for kids to learn to listen.
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8. Emotions draw our attention to the things to which we need to attend. Because it was traumatic, you might not remember being bullied by a classmate, violated by a pedophile, or how you were injured in an accident. Then one day, years later, you have another experience of being bullied, violated or hurt. Immediately, those old feelings arise. If you attend to them, you’ll be able to remember your emotions and the original events; and your emotions will be very, very powerful, because they have been held inside for years. Emotions do this is so we can get finished with those “open wounds” and move on to something else. Kids need to know how important it is to heal the wounds as they go along, and also how to heal them if they have inadvertently been retained.