We don't often think to turn to toddlers for emotional guidance, but amuse me if you will on why we should re-examine what they can teach us! As grownups we often forget to return to the basics, and loose ourselves in the hustle and bustle that life tends to throw at us. So let's turn back the clock just a bit to a time when we were first learned about our emotions, a time known as toddlerhood!
1. Recognize when your needs are not being met. (Let them be known!)
Can you identify when your needs are not being met? Do you recognize when you feel scared, hurt, or angry? How do you let yourself or others know how you are feeling? Do you sometimes yearn to throw yourself on the ground, kick, scream, and cry? (I mean who doesn't?).
Try and connect with your inner toddler. What's upsetting you? What are you not receiving and what do you need to feel better? When a toddler's basic need is not being met, they do something about it! Get in touch with your inner-self and recognize when your needs are not being met.
2. Seek out help when needed. (And we all need help.)
When you are upset are you able to confide in someone? Are you able to express your emotions and feel heard and listened to?
Toddlers rely on the guidance of their parents and caretakers when they are having a difficult time. We are relational by nature, and find comfort and support in others! If you are in need seek out a trusted and safe individual to confide in, join a support group, seek counseling, find a place that is safe to be you and be listened to.
3. Embrace your feelings as real, raw, and important. (Because they are!)
Do you have a difficult time expressing your feelings? Do you find yourself burying them and avoiding them? Do they bottle up inside of you until you are ready to explode?
Emotions influence our thoughts and behaviors, they are a part of who we are and how we function. Do they have a purpose? Absolutely. Toddlers tend to not over think their thoughts or emotions, rather they experience them wholeheartedly. If you are unsure of what, how, or why they are there, that is okay. Try to experience them with an openness and acceptance as an important part of what makes you, you! Our emotions exist to be expressed.
The difference between an adult and a toddler is that as adults we have the language to identify and fully express our emotions. We are able to use tools and techniques to manage our stress and experience our emotions with a gentle fluidity.
Like toddlers, adults need help from time to time as they experience difficult emotions, experiences, and decisions. Recognizing when we need help and seeking it out takes courage. Being an adult doesn't mean that we have it all figured out. It simply means we are still learning. Hopefully taking a lesson in our younger selves to check back in with what we need and how to express it.
I hope you found this helpful (and maybe even amusing) in how to connect with your inner-self and express your emotions. If you are experience a difficult time in your life, or seeking additional support, feel free to call me at (310) 893-4634 for a free phone consultation about psychotherapy services.