Oh boy, here we go!
How are you feeling today? No, not how are you doing today … but how are you feeling right now? Do you know? Have you been taught or told that any feeling or emotion you have inside is wrong, unnatural or simply not acceptable?
Let me say one thing right here. ALL of your emotions (mine, too) are valid and valuable touchstones that can give us clues about what is taking place within our lives.
Of course, there is that person who is making fun of you for your cleft lip, cleft palate or craniofacial issue. There are other people with the seemingly “stare of death” that look at me like I’m someone that landed from Mars or another planet.
Are you kidding me? That makes me feel sad, unworthy and unloved. As a child, if you are not surrounded by healthy, nurturing family members and friends, then this can cause problems. I mean big-time issues. Low self-esteem turns into self-loathing, hatred of your self and others, and simply not caring about living.
What about the happiness factor? I’ll get there. I know that the simple answer would for me to say to you children, teenagers, adults and your parents or guardians is to “suck it up” and get happy. THAT is totally wrong (my opinion). Parents, any person or group either intentionally or unintentionally giving off that message to you have no idea what you go through on a daily basis.
It’s OK to feel angry. There are ways to express anger in a healthy way instead of lashing out at any person that crosses your path. Unfortunately, I’ve had my moments in life where I have lashed out and had anger go splashing all over people … and it had nothing to do with them at all. Then there are other times where I’ve turned the anger, shame and guilt inside on myself, thereby causing even more problems.
Then there is the “meh” emotion. It’s like if someone asked you how you were really feeling about going to the doctor’s office for a check-up after surgery. Either you are going to feel ready to go and happy about it or unhappy. “Meh” is like shrugging your shoulders and saying “I don’t care” when you do.
Now let’s talk about happiness. From some of the people that have helped me grow up emotionally in my life (hint: it’s taken me a few years to grow up emotionally … and in some cases, I still am), I have learned that happiness is an inside job. That means my happiness starts with my state of mind, body and spirit. I can either choose to be happy or unhappy. In some cases, that’s true; in others, I don’t know. Going from doctor to doctor, having multiple surgeries, learning how to pronounce words and consonants through speech therapy … mercy, it’s a lot. Then toss in some family dysfunction (if there is any) and that’s a full plate for a kid to deal with every day.
Sadness, the “whatever” shrug, and happiness. The picture paints those three core emotions, but I know there are many emotions that flood through my body every moment. Honestly, I believe the same is true for you, my friends in the Heartfelt Smiles community.
And it does not matter what country, language, skin color, or belief system you live by all the time. Emotions affect all people in multiple ways every day. They can have a very strong pull on those of us in the craniofacial community, too.
Ultimately, there is one emotion that matters above and beyond all of these.
Love for yourself, love of others, and love for wherever you are in life today.
I am not talking about perfection. Striving for perfection in every single thing that you do every day will wear you down. Take it from a recovering perfectionist right here.
Feel your feelings, my friends. They tell deep stories of heroism and greatness. Yeah, YOU are a hero and YOU are great. 🙂
Take that inside today.
Let us all grow in love each day.