Anyone who knows our family was aware that for the past five weeks we have had my parents from England staying with us. This is a time that my children look forward to immensely. They love spending time with their grandparents regardless of the day or activity.
My parents have a special relationship with my oldest son Joshua. Being 10 years old, he is the only one who really can comprehend the fact that his grandparents live in England. Over the past few years, Joshua has held back from expressing his emotions when saying goodbye to them. He has chosen instead to internalize his feelings and sometimes I would ask him, “Are you going to miss them?” He would respond “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Throughout our lives we come to crossroads where vulnerability and the expression of emotions can be challenging. This is often the case because the expression of emotion is not seen as a courageous act and we, at times, forget to seek out safe and supportive environments where vulnerability is honoured.
That day helped me to realize that being in this “vulnerable place” is the foundation for building positive connections as well as help me to process and move forward.
Sometimes we make the mistake of presuming that those around us know how to process emotions and stay mentally well. But in reality mental wellness is like physical wellness you have to work at it. If we want to train for a marathon or ‘Tough Mudder’ it is not easy but it is manageable when you have someone to share the experience with. Having positive connections to process through our emotions and feelings, such as with friends, parents or mentors, helps us to ensure we are mentally well.
Everyone experiences down times in life. The ability to cope with negative or challenging experiences varies greatly from one person to another. The outward expression of emotions, along with a supportive environment is crucial in having a life that makes you smile.
Christopher Lees, Aim for Success Project Co-ordinator