Getting in touch with feelings

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

There was a long queue at the gates – one was marked Heaven, the other Hell. St. Peter, at the gates, asked each entrant the same question – “How are you feeling?”
Based on their answer people were being sent either to Hell or to Heaven.
John was confused. What should he say? Maybe if he says he is happy he will be sent to Heaven. Or will it be the other way round? Should he say he feels sad?
When his turn came, John finally blurted out, “I am confused.”
St Peter immediately replied, “Come, please join me. I too am confused.”

The above story, to me, is a whimsical take on the universality of emotions. When I was a child I was told that I was not supposed to feel or express some emotions. Every time I cried, as a child, I was asked to stop crying and smile instead.

Is that how it should be? Shouldn’t it be alright for me to cry if I am hurt or feeling sad?

Asked not to cry, I began hiding my tears. I still cried but I wouldn’t let others know. It got to a point where I even became ashamed of crying. Finally, I stopped crying altogether, even when I felt really sad. Now, after years of stifling my emotions, when I want to vent my feelings I find that I cannot – I have forgotten how to cry. Unfortunately, I have not learnt any other ways of expressing my feelings either.

The authors are part of a Bengaluru based child development and parent/teacher training center:

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