Her tears spill out of her eyes.
In my best mom voice, I say to my daughter, “It’s ok. Stop crying. IT will be ok. I promise.” My words don’t offer a salve, instead she gets more upset and responds with a one-liner that cuts the inside of my heart,”You hurt my feelings Momma.”
“Oh. I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” I place my hand on her back, realizing that she is sensitive and that her propensity is to really internalize everything I say to her. An elevated tone in my voice or not paying attention to the latest drawing can cause her to exhibit some serious angst. Some days it surprises me that some of her most benign interactions can cause such a sudden onset of tears. Under my breath, I hear myself saying, “She is way too sensitive. She needs to toughen up.”
That’s my Iamyourmother advice, but in reality, I am asking her to do something that I haven’t mastered yet. Yes, I will admit here, that although I am 3 decades older than my daughter, I am unable to sometimes control my own sensitivity. Even though I was taught in my former profession to keep my emotions invisible, quite often my eyes and my facial expressions show what is at the center of the heart. For years, I’ve repeated the following Don Miguel Ruiz’s mantra in the Four Agreements: “Don’t take anything too personally.” It hasn’t worked. The problem is I probably take too many things personally. I internalize what others may say or do and deem it a reflection of what might be a deficiency in myself. My own internal crack doesn’t have a filter. I embrace whatever emotion I am feeling and lean into it.
Is this approach too sensitive? Yes. But this inner sensitivity also allows me to carry myself with a torch of authenticity that comforts me. In a world where most are playing hide-and-seek with their own internal emotions, I prefer to sink into my own fractured self. I want to hurl toward a life that is filled with a heightened sense of happiness and sadness. My own internal pendulum runs through all my fractures and every single crack leads me to a more genuine truth.
There is an authenticity in my daughter’s waterfall. An exquisite authenticity indeed.