Handling Life’s Big Emotions: It Isn’t Easy for Me. It Isn’t Easy for My Kids.

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I woke up angry with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The events of yesterday were still on my mind and all of my anger, disappointment, and frustration came flooding back. I felt horrible.

I wanted to fix everything so desperately, but I didn’t cause the problem and the solution I desperately craved was out of my control. My only option was to sit with the consequences and try to move through the current situation.

It wasn’t easy.

No one bothered to answer the email I sent to resolve the situation. Do I keep trying or do I let it go?

There is no straightforward answer to this dilemma but my mind refuses to accept the current situation.

I can’t eat. I am not hungry. My stomach is a mess.

Maybe it’s not a big deal…

I try to convince myself that this situation isn’t a big deal in the larger scheme of life, but my brain has no control over my heart. And my heart has decided that this is painful and it won’t let go.

I distract myself by watching a movie at a friend’s house with all of the kids. This is perfect timing for a musical. The kids and I lose ourselves in the movie for a while.

It helps.

At lunchtime, my stomach is still a mess. I force down a little food and try to smile.

And I try not to let my anger overflow from my mouth.

And I try to keep my mood light and a smile on my face.

It works. Mostly.

Maybe work will help

That afternoon, I focus on work. I have an impending deadline and there is plenty to do.

But I can’t focus. A task that is usually so easy for me seems impossible. I lack inspiration. I try all of my writing tricks. all of my planning tricks. all of my mental tricks.

Nothing is working.

I agonize all day and in the end, I am still not happy with the result. Something is missing.

I think it is me.

I can’t believe how hard this is. Usually, it takes no effort at all. What on earth is the problem?

Me. I am the problem.

Right now I am full of BIG emotions. strong emotions. anger. disappointment. hurt. maybe even a little rage.

Life feels so unfair and someone I love is the victim.

And my emotional state has left nothing in my day untouched.

I am driving myself crazy and there isn’t much I can do about it, so I decide to give it some time, get a good night’s sleep, and try again tomorrow.

A new day

When I wake up the next day, I feel better. In fact, I accomplish three times the work that I did the day before. Best of all…I feel good about it.

I am back. My brain and heart have agreed to take a step away from a situation they can not control. And I am so grateful for the ability to push the barrage of thoughts aside more easily today.

What helped?

funny conversations with my family.
an honest conversation with a friend.
a walk outside.

Considering my kids

And with my newly acquired brain space, my thoughts drift toward the topic of my kids, specifically, my teens.

They have big emotions that impact their day: Disappointment. Heartbreak. Anxiety. Pressure. Insecurity.

And how many times do I wonder what on earth is wrong with them?

when they can’t focus.
when they can’t complete a simple task.
when they lash out for no reason.
when they seem to forget how to multiply.
when they forget what I asked them to do five minutes ago.

The teens years usher in big emotions. adult emotions into brains that are still maturing. into my kids who have much less experience handling…

a heartbreak
a major disappointment
a betrayal
a gossip that hurt
a friend that didn’t invite you
a social media post that bites

I let my own situation remind me that big emotions impact everything.

It’s true for me and it’s true for me teen.

Offering compassion

Maybe the same things that helped me would help them…

funny conversations with my family.
an honest conversation with a friend.
a walk outside.

Maybe instead of pushing them through a task, questioning their behavior, or punishing them for lashing out, I can remember that I have been there.

I’ve walked around with a sick feeling of disappointment in my stomach all day.

I’ve been unable to focus on the simplest task.

I’ve forced a smile while remaining quietly angry.

So maybe I can offer a hug, some chocolate, a listening ear, and a huge dose of compassion while they work through it all.

Maybe we can all try to be the people that we need when our own emotions are out of control.


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  1. I don’t know if you think about this sort of thing, but last night I noticed the giant, gorgeous, impossibly full moon and at once everything started to make so much sense. I have have the weirdest past two days too… Everything I start, remains unfinished. I am unmotivated, hungry/not hungry. Strange conversations and bizarre energy is all around. I came to the conclusion while driving over the Newport Bridge last night (after my son’s disappointing baseball game loss) that Mother Nature’s powerful, lovely moon was entirely to blame for all the cucu imbalances. *I woke up this morning feeling better already! I hope you do too. This too, shall pass, right?

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