Honor How You Truly Feel

Three weeks left until the end of school — and I can hardly wait!

I feel what seems to be a weird mix of emotions:

  • relieved (that we’re almost done),
  • happy (about what many of my students have accomplished),
  • disappointed (that some students just aren’t putting forth the effort),
  • annoyed (by parents who just “don’t get it” ),
  • exhausted (No need to explain this one!),
  • and occasionally proud of what I’ve accomplished.

As we approach the end of the school year, I feel a weird mix of emotions.

You may be having some of the same feelings.

How can we deal with this stew of emotions? Or maybe we should just ignore them and move forward?

Acknowledge our feelings

We can start with acknowledging our feelings. What are we feeling about the end of the school year? What is YOUR emotional “stew”?

Let’s start by identifying exactly what it is that we’re feeling. This emotion wheel might be useful in helping you name your feelings.

It will probably help just to write these down, so you can reflect on each of these feelings.

My first thought in looking at my list of emotions is “Isn’t that interesting! I have my own stew of emotions. No wonder I feel ‘off’ more often than usual.” And that’s OK.

I also notice that these emotions don’t all occur at exactly the same moment. . . rather they pop up over and over throughout my day, but never all at once.

Let’s embrace and honor our feelings

Some of us don’t value ourselves in an authentic enough way to understand that our feelings matter, too. Many of us believe that we don’t deserve certain things, making us uncomfortable feeling and expressing certain emotions.

All feelings matter. It is about being true to ourselves, honest with how we feel and what we want, and being willing to engage in authentic conversations with other people, especially when we don’t feel or want the same things they do.

So here are some ways to embrace and honor our feelings.

  1. Quit judging. Stop being so hard on yourself.  Self-judgment suppresses your true feelings, which has so many negative consequences on you and those around you.  Just be yourself and acknowledge who you are.
  2. Allow yourself to feel. All human emotions have value. Even the ones we consider “bad” can benefit us if we allow ourselves to feel them authentically. Allowing ourselves to feel these emotions (like sadness, shame, anger, etc.) can help us move through things in our lives that serve us and our relationships.
  3. Be real. Be true about what you want and get in touch with your true feelings. Be honest with yourself, be kind to yourself, and remember that you are enough.
  4. Let go. Many of us like to attach ourselves to our story. Getting stuck in your story takes you out of the emotional experience, and puts you in the past, not the present. By simply being present and feeling our emotions, we can move forward in our life.
  5. Reflect on your goals and accomplishments over this school year. What are the things that you achieved this year? My experience is that the year, as a whole, was worthwhile and I accomplished a lot, both for myself and for my students. I notice that I am satisfied. Savor, absorb, and really pay attention to the good things that have come to you this year.
  6. Talk with a friend. Many of us don’t get the emotional training that we need to feel and express our emotions in a healthy and productive way. When we can talk about our emotions with a friend, we can move through the ups and downs of life much more effectively. Remember, when we honor and embrace our emotions, and then share them with a friend, we’re helping both ourselves and our friend to come to a deeper understanding of our emotions.

The wrap-up

I’ve invited my co-teacher to dinner on the last day of school. Just the two of us, celebrating our accomplishments for the year.

I can see that I need to thank my school principal for the unique experiences I had in my classroom this year. Oh, and I need to thank my students, too!

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Larry Levenson
Larry Levenson
Larry Levenson is the founder of Circle Dynamics Group and a national leader in training educators in emotional intelligence and the use of genuine listening and curiosity in conversations with students. He has a Master's degree in Human Development.

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