The five-year-old child in our mind
The five-year-old child in our mind
  • Su-bin Park
  • 승인 2021.11.07 20:59
  • 수정 2021.11.09 12:29
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Division of International Studies
Su-bin ParkDivision of International Studies
Su-bin Park
Division of International Studies

​​​​​​​Quite occasionally, people put too much stress upon understanding others that they end up neglecting their own feelings. For instance, even though you are upset, you are hesitant to express your feelings to your friend because she has gone through tough times. Or you are exasperated at your friend but choose to calm your anger so as to prevent further conflicts. However, that is not a healthy way to deal with emotions. Emotions shall flow away, which means they have to be recognized and respected. Avoided emotions would pile up in your mind, which may cause psychological problems.


“You have a five-year-old girl in your mind.” Discussing my internal conflict, my counselor told me that I have to take care of my mind as if she is a young child. One way, suggested by my counselor, to recognize emotions is separating ‘what you hoped’ from ‘what (you think) should have been done’. It is because people often feel disappointed at someone for not behaving in a certain way, without sincerely understanding their own feelings. Eventually, people end up blaming others and converging all the complex emotions into a simple one, anger. For example, rather than criticizing a person for ‘not replying to the message as quickly as I do’, I would focus on my mind, who ‘wished to be loved and cared about as much as I do for the person.’ Now you can see how much I treasure the person and I could recognize my natural desire to be loved. This is why I think emotions are complex and good by nature, so they deserve to be respected. I see many friends, who are already so generous and caring, pushing themselves to be “kinder”. I would like to tell them about two things.


One, it is okay to let out your feelings. No one has the right to blame your feelings. Even if you hate or blame other people, inside those emotions exist dynamic interactions between different feelings and unique contexts. Every emotion has its reason for occurrence. Being kind has nothing to do with eradicating “bad” emotions of oneself. If you are angry, express your anger. Korean people often say they have Hwa-byeong when they are too angry, because ‘Hwa’ means anger and ‘byeong’ means illness. However, Hwa-byeong is actually a type of somatization disorders. People with Hwa-byeong have failed to let out their stress and intensive feelings, and they experience chest tightness, severe anger and anxiety. Such symptom demonstrates that failure to deal with emotions may lead to physical and psychological problems.


Two, be the first one to recognize your feelings. Loving oneself starts from accepting how you feel. Although the young kid in your mind is sometime very fastidious and hard to please, be generous to her. No one can understand yourself better than you. I had a hard time dealing with depression as well. Seeing my counselor and friends did help me get over it, but eventually appreciating myself was the key to let go off all the burdensome emotions. Imagine your feelings are like water. If you constantly build up a dam across the stream of emotions, it will never flow away. It may overflow, or the stagnant water may even spoil. When that happens, you may not be able to control your own feelings. Expressing one’s emotion to other people can be a way, but keep in mind that sometimes you may be the only person to truly understand what you are going through.


Everyone has a young child in themselves, and I wish the child is sufficiently loved and respected. However, not many people are aware that emotions have to be well cared of just like their body. The first step of mental self-care would be recognizing one’s emotions and needs.

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