May 222014
Mixed Emotions Kindergarden

My youngest, 13 1/2 years ago, getting off the bus after his first day of school. Such feelings of mixed emotions can make great stories

We have a family member who likes to ask, “How did that make you feel?” Sometimes his question stops me in my tracks. I want to respond, “Do you have a half an hour?”

We have moments—even months—that evoke a plethora of emotions. This ambivalence, or feeling of mixed emotions, can cause an uproar of feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which emotion is winning out from one minute to the next.

Mixed Emotions

I’m having one of moments right now. My youngest has his last day of high school today. In some ways it feels “right.” I see that he’s ready to move forward in this life. My heart soars for him, watching him come into his own, to see him feeling confident and joyful. I’m proud.

On the flip side, my heart aches for the past. I morosely look at pictures of him as a preschooler and hear a beautiful bass voice in my head singing “Sunrise Sunset.” Yes, there are even violins.

I’m also scared. What if I didn’t prepare him for life? What if I did and now he won’t need me?

Then there’s the guilt. I remember what it was like to have life by the tail. I remember trotting off to faraway places. I don’t remember caring how that made my parents feel.

Why You Should Write about Conflicted Moments

Mixed emotions gears Writing helps you “process” your feelings. For instance, it was only by writing the above paragraph that I realized I’m worried for my son.

Writing about such moments connects you with everyone who has shared such moments. The fact that they’re common doesn’t make such feelings less poignant. When you give voice to something your friends or loved ones have also felt, you connect with them. You bond.

Honest writing deepens connections. Life is messy, so there’s no reason to expect our emotions to be neat. For this reason, fiction authors often depict their characters as having mixed and conflicted emotions.

There may be a vulnerability to putting your heart on your sleeve, but there can also be a huge payback. When you’re an open book to your loved ones, they open up to you as well.

Your Turn

What moments in your life have aroused mixed emotions? Hint: There’s a comment field below….

  4 Responses to “Mixed Emotions: Write about the Times You’re not sure How You Feel”

  1. Laura, I was just thinking about this topic myself. The other day my son experienced something very upsetting in my presence and it made me sick to my stomach. As I analyzed why I had that reaction, it was because I was experiencing such a mixture of emotions: anger, sorrow, embarrassment, self-doubt and disappointment all rolled into one. I knew that the ONLY way I could ever make sense of what I was feeling was if I wrote about it.

    I think you’re right that these experiences of ambivalence bond us with readers more than the situations where our emotions are more pure because it’s the inner conflict that causes us to question whether we’re normal or crazy. Realizing that others have equally turbulent inner lives is very reassuring!

  2. Sue,
    Thanks for commenting. We’re on the same page. Even that urge to protect is part compassion, part anger.
    Keep writing!

  3. Laura,
    I see so much value in dissecting our emotions and really looking more carefully at how we are responding to our daily life experiences, especially when we’re not sure what we think! Journaling is so helpful to get us a fresh perspective when we take the time to connect with ourselves and validate those emotions and feelings instead of ignoring them.

    I have chosen your post, Mixed Emotions: Write about the Times You’re not sure How You Feel, as Dawn’s #JournalChat Favorite on 6/2/14 and will share a link on my website, in Refresh Journal, and on the social networks including on our new #JournalChat Live Facebook Group where we share information and make journaling conversation.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

    • Dawn,
      I’m flattered and excited that you want to use it. I’ll head right over to you site to check it out!

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