Welcome to the 21 Self-Improvement Tips 4 Kids series! This is article number 21 (YAY, your last article!). You can be up-to-date on everything regarding my Self-Improvement Series by subscribing to our blog (with an adult’s permission.)
“So, what’s the big mystery? What is one way I can make my life better?” you may wonder. The answer is simple – express and talk about your feelings. Yes, it’s puzzling – that probably doesn’t come to your mind at all when you think about making your life better, it might even be quite the opposite.
Talking about the way you feel mostly brings up feelings of anxiety, inferiority, and sheer terror. Plus, the media says talking about the way you feel or crying (also known as vulnerability) is “not manly” and “not” the “independent” qualities a girl wants to possess.
What the media forgot to say is that although it is intimidating at first, talking about your feelings with someone brings feelings of peace, relief, and relaxation afterwards.
The little 4-letter word “fine” wears a mask. Maybe you have used it. It has always been a rule in my house to be descriptive (that’s where I got my love of words and word-nerdiness from) and that if you aren’t feeling well or are feeling really nervous that we need to be honest and open.
Here’s a quick-tip on being a good friend: Look beyond the word ‘fine’. Just because someone says they are fine, it doesn’t mean they really are. Learn to sit down with someone and ask them “is there anything you need to talk about?” Don’t worry… it might be what they need in that very moment.
I used to be very withdrawn, and I still am on some subjects, but I find it’s easier to talk to my mom and my sisters everyday, by talking about the little things – my opinion on a movie, my relationship with my friends, how piano practice went, and the list goes on. If you talk about something little today, it leads to something bigger tomorrow.
You can speak to your parents. If you feel you can’t trust your parents with your feelings, or it’s just uncomfortable, it’s okay. There are plenty of other people you can speak to. A leader, teacher, counselor, trusted adult, your BFF, your pet, and you can even speak to your stuffed animals or write in a journal. There is something about our furry friends (alive or stuffed) that makes them so easy to talk to and hug (maybe because they can’t talk back at you), but it’s soothing to get your feelings out.
As human beings, we were created to have real companionship and conversations with the people around us, so when certain feelings like anger or sadness are accumulated over time, it turns into a bigger problem, like depression and other disorders. Speaking about it now avoids bigger problems in the long term. Please speak out and reach out!
“We try so hard to hide everything we’re really feeling from those who probably need to know our true feelings the most. People try to bottle up their emotions, as if it’s somehow wrong to have natural reactions to life.” ~ Colleen Hoover
What if I cry when I speak about how I feel?
I am a natural born crier (I get it from my mom). Sometimes all you need is a good cry to get the sadness out. Sometimes when I am upset or just feeling like everything went wrong, I go to bed and cry… and cry… and cry. And then I fall asleep and wake up the next day feeling better. I was speaking to a teenage girl the other day, discussing how, as girls, we let ourselves cry in a movie but we feel awkward when we’re in front of others. But, sometimes when we speak to others or try to tell others something we cry. It’s okay. I understand you. Get the tissues, or excuse yourself to wash your face and take slow, deep breaths.
“A good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” ~ Lemony Snicket
Does it hurt others when I keep my feelings to myself?
Yes! When you keep your feelings to yourself, you are living in fear of sharing and expressing, which means you damage your relationships with friends and family, because our relationships build upon sharing and talking to others about our true feelings. When you don’t talk about the way you feel, you feel like you don’t fit in, you disconnect yourself from conversations, and you are insecure and overprotective.
When you do express your feelings, you can make real and lasting friendships, feel like you can relate to others, and make your life better and enrich the lives of others, which is what being a true friend is all about.
How does expressing my feelings help me understand myself and others?
When you talk about how you feel to others, you learn more about yourself. Your thoughts, hopes, fears, and secrets. And if you express those feelings and use them in the right way, you can use them to help others. For example, after being bullied in school, I chose to share with other kids and teens how they can love themselves and stand up to bullying.
“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” ~ Audre Lorde
I could have chosen to be angry and have a “Why me?” perspective, but, thankfully my mom has taught me to look at the brighter side of everything and find a way to make things better. When you can look at situations better, you learn more, and, doing so, acquire more knowledge.
If you are going through a difficult situation, are feeling down, or just need to talk to someone right now, speak out! Reach out to someone you trust. You will be glad that you did. That being said, how are you feeling today? :)