Gum in Your Hair and Other Bad Things…

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Children are sent messages all day telling them to keep their emotions in check. Don’t cry too much. Don’t be too loud. Don’t be angry. Be happy. Stop being sad.

Given that, why would we be surprised to find ourselves as adults not able to feel (or sometimes even identify) our full range of emotions in the human experience?

Beyond the surface of this funny (somewhat snarky) children’s story lies a profound message that resonates with adults navigating the rollercoaster of life. Just take a moment and sink into the feeling of having someone else read you a simple tale…

As I read this again, I wonder what it would it take for us to unravel the layers of authenticity and explore how truly feeling our emotions, rather than numbing them, can be a transformative journey toward a more vibrant and genuine life. For many of us it would be learning to get familiar with the emotions we’ve learned to eliminate or suppress. For others it would mean sitting with hard feelings or big feelings and letting them run through our body without looking for distractions or numbing. Or maybe it would even just be speaking the emotions aloud without fear of judgement or reprisal.


  • What emotion or emotions do you need to give yourself permission to explore, feel, experience again?
  • How can you make the space for emotions to move through you in an authentic way?
  • What relationships could be improved or made deeper by your increased authenticity…even if your emotions make you or someone you love a bit nervous at first?

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