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  • Writer's pictureMona Cooley

Inside Out Tells All

Over the holidays, I took “ time out” for me with no guilt! I watched movies, read, spent time with family, baked and enjoy all the hosting, the candles, lights and warmth of the season. I am grateful I have been blessed with a family who accepts me for the kid I am at Christmas even when they roll their eyes and shake their heads. Definitely, one grandma and 7 grandchildren are excited whether the others join our jubilee of fun!! The kid inside of me shows on the outside when I light the candles, turn on the Christmas lights and watch Christmas shows. The facial expression, body language, tone of voice and the singing tells all!!!

There have been times in my life when I was not as jubilant with life. When faced with difficult situations, the outside showed anger, frustration and keeping what I felt inside. The inside of turbulence happening with me was showing up however it was treated as acting out. Yes of course it was acting out. How else would I be able to express what I was feeling when I can’t find the words instead of expressing angry words such as “you don’t give a dam”? What I know today is the acting out was my way of expressing what was inside, my only way I knew how. Keeping things stuffed inside of me wandered into Ted’s and my family of 4 children. The outbursts I had, the anger is something I am not proud of, yet it happened. What is said and done in the past can’t be changed however you can change going forward. When I was challenged with wondering how I was going to support Candace when diagnosed with bipolar disorder, my body and mind slumped to crying, and frustrated with what to do. My daughter could read me even if I didn’t talk or express what I was feeling. She saw a mom hesitant to talk or say anything, quieter than usual ( I am not known for being quiet) and her mom was not walking with confidence. I can’t say that what she saw, it was what happened because I know the words to express today….calmly, instead of acting out.

The outside tells all what is happening inside of you. Be honest with yourself, how is your inside doing and what are you showing on the outside. Don’t be fooled that others don’t notice especially your family and friends who know you. I have witnessed and heard what families read about each other or a friend notices you are not being you. A friend who has told me on numerous occasions, you are not yourself. She knows me well and calls me out when I am showing on the outside what is going on inside of me. Actions speak louder than words even though words can be telling.

The reason for talking about this is that I have had several conversations lately that tell it all. When you have conversations about the struggles in the world, Oprah said it all in her January 2019 addition of Oprah magazine ( What I know for sure article if you want to read the whole article) – “WE ARE IN TROUBLE”. Her words validated what I feel – People are hurting inside and their outside is telling us but we are not Listening, Understanding, Validating (LUV) each other. Now that I have shared this insight. Here is the good news. I heard from another person who is supporting her family member by listening not fixing, the loved one is making changes on his own without her trying to fix him. The reaction was not anger but making his own decision of what to do. If you want to help someone, empower them with listening, understanding and validating them. You might see the outside look relieved instead of feeling like my daughter said – “quit telling me what to do”. When I started listening more, I saw her responding to what I was saying rather than reacting with anger, this was relief for me.

TIP: Pay attention to what the outside of a person is telling you, it is telling what is inside of them. Pay attention to yourself what your outside is telling others and watch how they respond or react to you. Are you feeling heard, understood and validated? It is up to you to what you do with this information. You can ignore it or you can try it to see what happens. I challenge you to try it because you will not know for sure if this works.

The outside tells all what is happening inside of you. As Oprah said in the same article I mentioned above “ It takes only one candle to light a whole room of darkness”. Light up a family member or friend’s life with LUV. Watch how you ignite the inner soul to smile in turn smiles back to you. Now you both are smiling inside and out. This tells it all!

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