Children need to be taught what emotions are and what they mean. Yet many adults rarely understand what their own emotions are trying to say. Emotions can be frightening for a child and not being able to process emotions can lead to behaviour problems.
The three basic emotions of happiness, anger and sadness are the fundamental building blocks of our universal human existence. They are messages you get from your interactions with others and yourself that tell you what life is really like. They are the messages we give ourselves, everyday, all day. If you are paying attention to them, emotions can teach us about the possibility and potential of ourselves and others.
To most of us happiness involves feeling joy, love and pleasure. It also means the brain is growing and maturing. Happiness indicates the person is developing their possibilities and potential. The neurological processes are able to grow and develop. Interestingly, happiness is linked with generosity,so when you are giving you are also growing. Happiness both reminds and challenges us to respect, support and nurture ourselves and others. A life filled with peace and happiness is something we all strive for in ourselves and in our children.
Anger is the emotion necessary for protection. It happens when there is an opportunity for growth that has been suppressed or prevented. Protection and therefore anger is absolutely necessary when one is rejected, ignored and denied. It is a cry for missing intimacy, closeness, respect and truth. It is more about these mental states than just being angry over something we did not get. Once a child understands the necessary purpose of anger only then can they surrender to it. If you are angry – be angry and the goal is to release or process the anger where no one gets hurt and nothing gets damage. People who have never learned how to do this become walking time-bomb. The longer they wait the bigger the explosion. Once the anger is released from the body the child can then choose to focus on finding, creating, giving and sharing. In other words they can then re-focus on maturing and growing as peaceful people.
Sadness is the loss of possibility and the loss of intimacy, closeness, respect, love and truth. It is a part of any grief process. When someone close to you dies – we all feel as if a part of us died with them. We rightly feel as if we are missing something. Being sad reminds us that we are never really alone and how we can never realized our own potential and maturity without the support of others. We each other, especially when we are the most fragile – when we are children. Sadness reminds us to be more gentle, merciful, empathetic and kind.
Emotions are central to who we are as people, when we are maturing and how we are maturing. By not understanding the purpose and potential of our emotions we face the real possibility of being stuck in a developmentally immature emotional state.
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