Allow the Happy to Be There, If it’s There

May 16, 2020 - 5 minutes read

The post below is written by our School Counsellor, Deidre Keating. Shared with families on May 10, 2020.

Counsellor’s Corner

Hi Parents and Families!

In last week’s Counsellor’s Corner, we focused on the very different emotions that we may feel at this time – the anger that seems to pop up from nowhere, the sadness that may sit heavily upon our days. Today, in honour of the gorgeous spring weather we are having, let’s shift our focus to the other things we may be feeling –the happiness, peace, relaxation, appreciation, creativity. These ones add a lighter quality to our days, and need to be recognized, too.

I’ve heard from many people recently that they are experiencing new feelings of joy and calm, as well as gratitude for the gift of health, time, space, and connection. These things may become more present now that we’ve settled into our new routines. I’ve also heard from people that they are reluctant to admit these newfound feelings – not wanting to own up to feeling good in a time that has been so heavy and difficult for many.

It’s helpful to remember that we have the capacity to experience many different emotions at one time. Feeling one way doesn’t discount feeling another. Happy and sad can exist at the same time, as can worry and calm. If you’ve seen the movie Inside Out – one of my all-time favourites – you know that all the emotions hang out together, and that, every once in a while, one of them takes control. This doesn’t mean that the others disappear – they are still there, waiting for their turn. So if you find yourself experiencing bursts of happiness, spontaneous laughter, feelings of curiosity and creativity, and if the thought crosses your mind that you “should” be feeling otherwise…allow yourself to feel it! Embrace the happy. Let Joy be in charge for a while. ?

In times of change, one of the best things that we can do – rather than trying to hold on to old patterns and routines – is to look for the good. And so, what is good in our experience? To you, that may be the unexpected time that you have spent with your children these past several weeks, seeing them be adaptable, witnessing them in their learning, and helping them in new ways. That may also be the time that you have spent in your garden, finishing odd jobs around your house, engaging in creative pursuits, and generally being more anchored in place than usual. The kindness, the support, the flexibility, the bravery…we’ve all seen this reflected in our own lives and in the world.

It has been astounding the creative ways in which we have adapted. Zoom has become our collective best friend. Zoom fatigue is now a thing. Learning is taking place in exciting and innovative new ways. Teachers have impressed us with their endless passion and flexibility. Maybe you have seen your child’s face glowing in delight as they have a Google meet with their classmates. Maybe you and your kids have tried an online fitness class, or learned a new skill. You may have created new family traditions, or brought back old ones. You may have reached out to friends and family more so recently than you would have in the past. Or maybe you’ve simply rested, and taken more time to be still. And maybe, now that you’ve had to keep your distance from everyone except family members, you’ve squeezed your kids a little tighter, had more cuddles with your pet, and relished in moments of contact, in whatever form they happen.

Invite yourself to feel the good, and allow the happy to be there, if it’s there. All we have to do is to look outside at nature for the gentle reminder that life moves forward, beautiful things blossom amidst the hardship, and we are meant to grow and thrive.

Warmly, Deidre