Living Out Loud

Part of sharing space with a very vocal two and a half year old is experience the entire spectrum of emotions on a daily basis. Like most toddlers, Bea goes from singing and dancing to quiet play to a temper tantrum to snuggles without missing a beat. Some days this can be exhausting. Fortunately, these feelings happen over the course of our day, not in the matter of minutes. (Usually.)

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While I can easily get overwhelmed by a screaming fit for taking off her shoes, I also appreciate this phase in which Bea doesn’t hide her emotions. It makes me wonder when we learn those social skills of masking how we feel. I’m glad we learn those – I can’t imagine how awkward grocery shopping would be if every adult who was hungry was huddled by their shopping carts, crying out for a snack.

But, I think we can also learn from toddlers. Which emotions am I hiding because it’s more socially acceptable to smile and keep peace? Which emotions are worth sharing, worth stirring up, and worth making people uncomfortable with? When I reach a place of vulnerability with others, it usually involves sharing emotions that I’ve learned to mask.

While I don’t anticipate sharing how happy I am through song or stomping my feet in frustration any time soon, I do hope that I can model how to keep my emotions open and share my feelings honestly so that Bea doesn’t feel the need to hide her feelings as long as possible.

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.

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8 thoughts on “Living Out Loud

  1. Annie, these words resonate strongly with me:”When I reach a place of vulnerability with others, it usually involves sharing emotions that I’ve learned to mask” because I’ve often needed to be vulnerable with my writing. I’ve discovered it opens doors of communication with others and also opens up areas in us which need expression. I love the lessons your toddler is teaching you and hope to see some of the same once my grandson reaches a similar age. Thank you! I’m visiting from five minute friday today. It’s good to meet you. 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Joy! I think writing is teaching me to be more vulnerable, as well… There’s something about putting yourself out into the world! I’ll bet you’ll learn so much from your grandson! According to my mom, it’s easier to step back and enjoy those lessons as a parent because you’re not in the midst of it all. 😉

  2. Loved this post, Annie. We do learn to hide our true emotions. And it’s not always a good thing. Your questions are good ones to evaluate. There are times when we shouldn’t shrink back from making people uncomfortable with our feelings, and our thoughts. I loved this lesson.

    I think I can learn from my boys as they learn how to share their emotions. They’re older, but they hold me accountable for how I express my emotions. I am definitely learning from them.

    1. Thanks, Jeanne! I am horrible at making people uncomfortable, but then I always regret not standing up for my beliefs…. Having someone watching my reactions and the way I deal with emotions has definitely made me look closely at habits I have… Ah, the perks of kids and their accountability!

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