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June 3, 2021

Feel Our Feelings

Joy is not a feeling. It’s a decision. And this leads to peace and contentment.
I am a crier. Yes, I cry at almost everything. I cried during the opening credits of the latest Star Wars. I cried because 30 years have passed since Princess Leah and Hans Solo first appeared on the big screen. I reveled in watching the newest installment with my husband and our two children.

I cry at big things. I cry at little things. Yes, it’s a little annoying. Especially for my teenage children. My daughter instructed me not to cry when I dropped her off at college. I would have been able to pull it off except that her school had a very public farewell ceremony. Tears streamed down my face, as I tried desperately not to cry.

I’m giving you this background as I share with you what a friend of mine posted last week on social media.

She explained that her daughter, Lily, was grieving the loss of first grade as she transitioned into second grade. Lily already missed her first-grade teacher, the classroom, and her friends. It seemed first grade had died, and my friend had no clue what to do.

I suggested that she not do anything except to let Lily cry. I think it’s OK to miss what’s gone. More than OK. I think it’s good. I argued that when she could let first grade go, she could focus on second grade.

One of my favorite movies is Inside Out. Of course, I cried through the entire movie.

I loved that movie! But I have a suggestion for the sequel, which is in the works. I would change the emotions. The original movie has five: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear.

I believe there are only four. Happy, Sad, Scared and Mad. I believe Joy and Disgust are decisions, not feelings.

I also believe that our children should embrace all of their emotions. It’s the only way to get to Joy. And the only way to keep Disgust from dominating our lives.

How? We can figure out what feelings stay and what goes so we know feelings help us and those that only hurt our own precious hearts.

Every day I laugh even more than I cry. I get angry at different times but only briefly. (I figured out that it’s hard to be angry when you’re dancing around your living room to your favorite song.) And although I still get scared of spiders, I admire their work ethic more than I fear their spindly legs. What’s the point? We find true joy through embracing our emotions — yes all of them. When we find joy, we also find love and peace. And there’s just no room for Disgust.


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