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This Father’s Response to his Daughter’s Feelings Captures the Essence of Emotional Health

This viral video was shared in a group recently and it stopped me in my tracks.

Watch what he does in the first video (3 min) and then listen to what he says about that experience in the second video (4 min).

And then I’ll share about how this captures where we are going in terms of cultivating emotional health in ourselves and the next generation.

What Joel Mitchell is doing is called “holding space”. All he does is stay with her and make sure she is physically safe so she can process her feelings all the way.

Three things he demonstrates that are at the essence of emotional health:

ONE: Feelings don’t need fixing.

Notice how he does not to try to stop her in any way. He does not try to fix or change anything. He is simply THERE FOR HER.

Toddlers are not the only ones who need this witnessing. We all need it and can offer it to our loved ones and ourselves.

Having feelings does not mean anything is wrong with you. It probably means something is right with you. The only thing to do with them is make it safe for them to be there.

Once they process through, then you can “do” something about them *if* that is even needed. See last week’s post about dealing with overwhelm for help on this.

TWO: There is no judgement on feelings, only compassion.

Joel clearly explains where the feelings are coming from. He doesn’t create a story about his daughter’s character (or his own) because she had a 45 minute fit. We don’t have to create any stories about who we or loved ones are either because this is an emotional response to something.

We are all human. Who have feelings about what happens through their lived experience. THAT’S ALL. There doesn’t need to be any further personalization or attachment to it.

This is not spoiling a child. This is not being permissive. There is no manipulation.

He also demonstrated emotional health by just acknowledging his own feelings about people’s response to his parenting as well as being clear about his own human-ness (“I’m not always that patient”).

THREE: Self care has nothing to do with being selfish.

Notice how the reason he says that he could hold space for his daughter’s feelings for 45 minutes is because he had practiced good self care. He *had the space inside his own experience* to just practice breathing with her feelings.

The sleep he got, the physical care he had taken of himself, the time he has taken to invest in his personal growth practices… all of those things are self care practices he prioritized over serving others in those moments. SO THAT he could hold space when his daughter was ready for her emotions to come through. THIS is why self care is such a big topic.

What would you be able to do as a parent, a partner, a boss, a friend if you took better care of yourself?

What if we all started from a place where our emotions were regarded as healthy, understandable and important?

We would have so much more time, connection, and overall HEALTH on all levels.

Let’s start now. Let’s give this to ourselves and generations to come.

If you want to support and guidance for how to cultivate your own emotional health, contact us.

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