Emotions: The fuel for our lives

emotions feelings Jun 16, 2023

Last time we started chatting about emotions… let’s build on. If you haven’t caught the intro/part 1, scooch back to Episode #93, The Skinny on Emotions.


That reminds me, I love looking at where phrases come from, especially since I don’t know if I’m ever using them the “right way” or not. So when I thought about “the skinny” and of course how that can be a concerning word around weight for some people. 


What did I do? “Google it!”


According to Vocabulary.com,  If someone offers to give you "the skinny" on something, they're revealing some secret information. This last, informal meaning stems from military slang during World War II, probably from the idea of "naked," or undisguised, truth.


The military. Such colorful parts of our language come from the military.


Words matter, and yet it’s not the words said, it’s how they are being received. We all have different filters through which we receive words.


And yet, that’s for another day’s discussion.




OK, let’s talk about emotions being the FUEL for our lives.


Our mojo. Our motivation. Our BRAKES.


Think about it:

When you feel amazing, positive, interested…. What do you do?

You do THINGS. You speak kindly to yourself and others.


When you feel down, frustrated, disinterested, dread…. What do you do?

You avoid, resist, and … distract. You judge yourself and others.




Our emotions fuel our lives.

They make us uniquely human. We have a full rainbow of emotions - and I use that term as I love referring to the Feelings Wheel (attached in the show notes) which is colorful. There are so many words in the English language to describe the variety of emotions that we have.


And it’s fascinating to learn about them to see how they are subtly different, in their origin, their experience in our bodies AND what we do with them.


Today we are talking about what we do with those emotions.


I want to reflect on the feelings that parents – I want to say uniquely feel, but we will say some experiences that you may recognize.


Frustration. Let’s say related to kids. ‘Cause we’ve all been there.


Something, somewhere, someone does or doesn’t do something and we feel… FRUSTRATED.

We want something different. We want them to do something different. We want their eating habits or interest in movement to be different.


But what happens when WE feel frustrated? How do you act? What do you do?


When frustration is my fuel, I am a stinker. I may not be showing it on the outside, but I am stomping my feet like a toddler on the inside. I focus on what needs to change, how others need to do differently. How it all sucks.


This is what happens when I would look at what my kids were doing or not doing… being kids, not wanting to eat their veggies, preferring to be inside instead of outside.


I would argue, be frustrated and then… become Momzilla.


It wasn’t because of them. It was because the story I was telling myself became the source of frustration. I was arguing with them in my head, more honestly, I was arguing with what is.


Now someone could say, “Wendy, yeah this is all nice and good and meta- you’re arguing with what is, but I still have kids to have to move.”


Hon, we are on the same page. That’s the thing, the more that we focus on what HAS to HAPPEN, what it NEEDS to look like, how it DOESN’T appear that way – that is the foundation for frustration. And for us to have a pretty crappy emotional experience as parents.


Because when we are frustrated… we don’t show up in a way that will change anything. The fuel of frustration leads us to argue with what is, try to get others to change, AND… when we are full of it (the frustration), reach for food or electronics or something to just ESCAPE the feeling. “I’m tired of feeling frustrated, so I’m gonna check my IG scroll for a minute.” Forty-five min later….


I’m no better for having been frustrated. It doesn’t change a thing.


My frustration is not a fuel that helps me show up in a way that helps me OR my kids.


That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t feel frustrated. Not at all. We are humans. Things do not go as we intend. We feel frustrated.


Here’s the distinction:

When we learn that our feelings are the fuel for our lives, we can start seeing WHEN we want to use that fuel, how it’s taking us down the wrong path AND when we just need to sit with an emotion so the fuel doesn’t take us down a path that isn’t helping anyone.


NExt time we’re going to chat a bit more about emotions, specifically about how we can learn to feel our emotions AND how to help our kids in feeling their emotions.


Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!

Listen Now!

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