I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy, once you have seen my misery, and gotten to know the distress of my soul. Psalm 31:8
Jocelyn came to me, last week, very upset after playing a video game on Roblox. Apparently, another player was unkind to her. When she told me more details, I realized the situation was so trivial, and the unkind action so minute, I began to talk her out of her feelings.
My intention was to help her see the bigger pictures. I also wanted to toughen her up a bit. If she was getting this upset over a minor incident, we were going to be in for BIG trouble when something truly unkind happens later.
To show me the error of my ways, in less than 24 hours, a similar situation happened to me.
While talking with someone, I confided in her about the things I’ve REALLY been struggling with lately. Within 30 seconds, she began to tell me how everyone had it hard, a dozen people she knows have the same struggles, and blah, blah, blah. I tuned her out after that in self-preservation.
Honestly, I believe she thought she was being helpful, and viewed what she was saying as a pep-talk. But from my perspective, she had just trivialized my problems and my feelings, and that hurt.
Of course, I’m not facing any real and true hardships like the possible loss of my home, or a terminal diagnosis. But my problems still weigh on me. They’re challenges I haven’t yet figured out, and the process of doing so is taking everything I have.
And there it is – the lesson I needed to learn as a person so I can become a better mother. No matter how small our struggles may seem to others, if they stir deep emotions in us, they need to be validated and respected by those we turn to for help.
Of course some stranger copying my daughter in her Roblox game, and then telling others my daughter was the one copying her is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But it struck a deep, emotional cord in Jocelyn. She values honestly above all else. Some nine-year-old, somewhere in the world, publicly saying Jocelyn was being dishonest, cut her to the core. Shame on me for not validating and supporting her!
Needless to say, I went to Jocelyn and apologized. I also told her I’d support her planned response, as long as it didn’t include being unkind back.
You should have seen the transformation in her. Just hearing that I honored her feelings brought her joy back.
That transformation is one I hope to remember for a long, long time to come to inspire me to never, ever belittle someone else’s feelings again, no matter how things look from my perspective.
Instead, I’m vowing to always listen and affirm. I’ve learned firsthand just how important those two actions can be.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do I ever trivialize my kids’ feelings, thinking their reaction is not appropriate to the given situation?
* Have I ever had my feelings trivialized by another?