Even stones have feelings …
This weekend I heard a story about a little seven year old girl, who picked up a pebble in the back yard one day and explained to her playmate that "even stones have feelings."
At a late brunch last Sunday morning sitting in a crowded sidewalk cafe in New York City, I listened to a sixty year old playmate tell the tale to the others at our table. He said he had never forgotten those words. The little girl he described in the story was me.
I was amazed and intrigued. I decided that this might have to be the title of one of the chapters in my memoir.
I thought about it all the way back home on the train, before I fell asleep that night, and for two days afterward. "Have I always been sensitive to other people's feelings? Have I always known that it was important to validate them? How did I learn that?" I reflected.
Excitedly, I delivered the information to my therapist, and when we unpacked the implications of what I had understood emotionally and philosophically, even as a very young child, we uncovered its significance for me.
That is: Even back then I knew that feelings for everyone (including stones!), were important.
Except my own.
For, I had learned that my feelings would have to be put on the back burner, because the emotional needs of the significant adults in my life came first. Furthermore, it seemed that my emotions were construed as destructive and harmful to the very people from whom I needed validation and approval the most.
Indeed, even stones were more deserving of having feelings than me.
What a bind!
It becomes clearer to me now, more than ever, why my work with young children and the people who care for and educate them, is and always has been focused on emotional development – specifically, the validation of children's feelings.
Seven years ago at Tamarika: Thoughts about it