I was at gathering one day and there were children and adults. A friend commented that the children appeared so tiny physically compared to adults, and my reply made me understand my own thoughts better.
“That is why their emotions must exaggerate to match the size of adults” was my impromptu reply. This made my friend paused a think. And it inspired me to write about this.
Often our children display exaggerated emotions due to fear, and insecurities. They scream on the top if their voices, roll on the floor with anger, or even hit others. Yes, insecurities is a deep topic and to a child, it is very simplified. Their physical size, so tiny compared to adults already set up the feeling of insecurities in them.
So as adults, as parents, it serves us well if we can keep this in mind when we interact with children. We already see many people talk about lowering ourselves physically by squatting or kneeling down to be a eye level when we interact with children. This is one good way to remove the natural insecurities felt due to the difference in our sizes.
In a very similar way, we see some adults with exaggerated emotions. They get very drama when they are sad, or angry. Common stories we see on TV dramas include people who threaten to commit suicide when their partners want to break up with them. At the work place, we see people slamming tables, screaming at staff members, or arguing with suppliers.
Why do adults also display exaggerated emotions? I am not a trained psychologist, so my view is purely layman’s perspective. In the same way children feel insecure because they are physically smaller than adults, when adults and children interact, adults with low confidence are alike.
Who are the ones who scream and shout at service teams, thinking that customers are kings? The people who have low confidence. So they put up a fake front, to fill up the gap. They exaggerate the emotions until they feel that it is enough to match up in “size” of the other party they are dealing with. Only people with same size and have a fair fight right?
Why did I have such thoughts of belief? In my parenting journey, my children experienced some authority figures venting anger at them. I shall skip the details here to keep my story simple. I am not someone who likes to complain, so I didn’t complain about the authority figure. Instead, I came up with a way to explain to my children why the adult (authority figure) behaved this way. The root reason – they have low confidence in handling the issue at hand. So one way is to exaggerate their emotions to cover up the confidence lack. Attention will then be shifted to them, and this give them an excuse that they are Right!
My children although still young were able to comprehend this theory that I shared with them. I could sense that they felt less intimidated and more composed the next time similar events happened to them. This is a good way to guide my children in understanding that the problem may likely lie with the adult who display such exaggerated emotions. This will also free (as much as possible) my children from attaching themselves to other people’s negativity.
This way of perceiving adults who display exaggerating emotions, can also help adults at work. When faced with colleagues, superiors, or staff members with dramatic negative emotions, this theory that the person may be having low confidence at that time facing that particular issue, can prevent ourselves from being sucked into that person’s negativity “rabbit hole”. This keeps our own emotions stable and so our minds will remain more rationale in challenging situations.
I am no psychologist. I am a mother. I am a business woman. I am human.
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