Our son was home sick from school this week, so (over Legos and audiobooks) he got to see me running around, trying to do too many things, and stressed out about work.
At one point in the morning, he asked me, “Papa – are you mad at me?”
Oof. It hurts to hear this. And I honestly wasn’t. He was occupying himself brilliantly. So what was going on?
I think that my face and my tone were leaking stress and tension.
My eyes can’t see my face (not without a mirror) and so I cannot tell when my face shows strain. And the part of our brains (the superior temporal sulcus) that reads emotion in tone of voice actually switches off when we ourselves are speaking. (More about this in chapter 4 of this brilliant book.) So, I leak emotion all the time, and I am blind to the emotion I leak. Yikes!
For me, the next question is: Will I get curious about what I am leaking? That is, will I slow down and acknowledge what I am feeling?
And then another: Who can help me see what I am blind to? For honest answers, perhaps best to start with a child.