As I was upstairs getting ready to leave for baseball practice yesterday, I heard a commotion on the first floor. There was yelling, door slamming, and sobbing. As I started down the stairs I saw my daughter with her face scrunched up in an evil look and my son, suited up for practice, sitting on the stairs crying. Both began to tell me the story simultaneously with the truth somewhere in the middle of what was being shared.
We could either be late for practice so we could discuss or a resolution could wait until we returned. My son did not seem capable of calming down and having a discussion in his current state so I chose the latter. Separating the two and cooling off was the thing needed most.
The moment the doors to the car were closed, Monkey started telling me all about what his sister did to him. I reminded him of something we discuss often. You can’t control what someone does or says; you can only control your reaction to it. Then I asked, “Are you going to allow her to rob you of happiness at this moment? If so, you are choosing to allow her to have that if you continue to be this angry over the situation.”
Through newly forming tears he responded, “But mom, sometimes I just can’t let it go.”
He’s right of course. Sometimes we can’t just let it go. Something someone has done or said to us wounds on such a level that we lose control of the situation. Maybe we lash out with words. Or possibly we can’t stop feeling sad. Whatever the reaction, we feel powerless.
But are we truly powerless?
I started by telling Monkey he is right; sometimes it is hard to let something go and that is okay because we are not supposed to be perfect. But since it doesn’t feel good, feeling powerless over an emotion, there are things we can do that will help us gain that control and feel more at peace. It might not happen right away, but these ideas can help us move in the right direction emotionally.
We then spent the rest of the drive making up a list of ideas. Here’s what we came up with:
5 Ways to Let Go of Anger
- Exercise–this helps our body and mind.
- Read–a great way to put your mind somewhere else.
- Play—water gun and water ballon fights definitely help you laugh and forget your troubles!
- Talk–discussing the feelings is always helpful to gain a new perspective.
- Laugh–this might be more difficult to do when you are angry, but calling a funny friend for some comic relief is therapeutic.
After a 2 1/2 hour practice, my son didn’t even remember he was mad at his sister when we returned. I also noticed my daughter was trying hard to be kind to him. It was probably simply the space from each other that brought about the change. Regardless of how peace was reached in my home last night, I am happy we now have this list to refer to when anger strikes and one of us can’t let it go. Having tools to cope in all that comes our way in life is essential. After love, I hope I am giving my kids many important life skills.
It’s not on the list Monkey and I created, but of course music can certainly help calm emotions (or evoke them–depending upon what you are listening to). For Song of the Week you can thank my friend Lance Burson for providing the inspiration. It’s a fun song to start off the weekend. Here’s Third Eye Blind with “Never Let You Go.”