My son is currently obsessed with Spiderman. We have Spiderman clothes, Spiderman shoes, Spiderman toys, Spiderman toothbrushes, etc. You name it we have the merchandise. I’ve got to give Spiderman his props though, because he managed to teach my son a lesson about emotions the other day.
The conversation went something like this:
Son (S): Spiderman’s crying!
Me (M): Yep looks like it buddy.
S: Why is he crying?
M: Looks like he’s sad.
S: Even Spiderman gets sad?
M: Sure. Everyone gets sad sometimes.
S: So if he gets sad I can get sad too? And I can cry if I’m sad? Just like Spiderman?
M: Yep you sure can.
S: And he’s a superhero and gets sad, so I can be sad and still be a superhero right?
S: I gotta tell my sister that!
A kid’s movie managed to teach my son a simple lesson about emotions and did it exceedingly well. Everyone experiences difficult emotions be it sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. You are supposed to experience those emotions from time to time and just because you need to express them at times, that doesn’t make you weak. Therapy is not meant to eliminate your negative feelings, it’s just meant to help you have them and express them in a healthy way. Many people try to ignore their negative emotions or push them away because they assume having a negative emotion means that they are not doing something right. That is actually contrary to the truth. If you are able to own your emotions in the moment, express them in a way that is not harmful to yourself or others, and let them pass, then you are handling these emotions in the best way possible.
My son still cries frequently. Thus is the life of a toddler who is still learning how to express himself. However, since realizing that superheroes cry too, he likes to remind me that he’s still a superhero even when he’s upset. And I must say I have to agree with him. Because I think owning your emotions and expressing them unapologetically is pretty scary and also pretty heroic.