“No, no, honey, that’s dangerous.”
You would think my mom had just slapped the kid across the face and yelled at him by the way he burst into heart-wrenching tears. I picked my nephew up, hoping my embrace would reassure him that his grandmother loved him and only wanted to keep him safe.
“You used to be just like him,” mom told me.
No wonder I felt so compelled to try to calm his sobbing; I relate to him.
A child’s tearful response to correction and restriction is understandable–and even adorable–but not all children respond with tears. Some respond with curiosity and a desire to experience the danger, while others respond with rebellion or a determination to do what they want anyway. Some children shut down in fear. Still others learn the lesson with no heightened emotion.
When my mom reminded me of how sensitive I was as a child, I realized not much has changed inside of me. I still feel things deeply. But, like you, I’ve learned what is emotionally appropriate and what is not. We find ways to keep our emotions in line with what we find is acceptable. For some of us, this takes a lot of self-talk.
“She isn’t yelling at me; ’No’ doesn’t mean she doesn’t like me.”
Unfortunately, our self-talk is not always helpful. Sometimes we reinforce our fears and frustrations.
“She hates me! She never lets me have what I want.”
Adults may be more mature with what we are feeling, but deep inside our temperament and our self-talk govern our confidence. Since it is harder for some of us than it is for others–we would be wise to understand that when dealing with each other.
None of my children responded to correction with a broken heart. In fact, if I had picked up my strong-willed child like I did my nephew, he would have been angry at me for coddling him… and then my feelings would have been hurt… but I would have stuffed away my desire to cry over it, because after all, I’m a grown woman now!
“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12 NLT
If you find yourself–or someone you love–battling childish emotions, I encourage you to give yourself–or them–grace. We may be grown up now, but we are still human. Emotions should not govern our confidence, but they are still real and it is good to feel. So BE and LET BE.
Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.
Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com