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A Lovely Story That Explains How We Manage Our Feelings …

by Katherine Graham
July 2017

CMP Resolution Blog by Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

Katherine Graham

Once there was a very small person who had feelings. They had many feelings and felt them every day. Their family liked them when they showed their feelings, so the very small person started to wear their feelings on their sleeve.

One day one of the small person’s parents said that they didn’t like to see the FEAR feeling any more, so the small person tried to pull it off.  The parent said that they would give the small person some TOUGH to cover over their FEAR.

The small person found it very difficult to cover the FEAR with the TOUGH, so the other parent and the grandparents all helped.  It took many days. “Now you look wonderful,” said the parents when it was done. “We’ve covered some of your feelings with TOUGH, and you’ll grow into a strong person.”

The small person grew a little older and found a friend. The friend also wore their feelings on their sleeve. The friend said one day, “My parents want me to cover up my LONELY feelings, and to be different from now on.” And they were. The small person decided to cover over their LONELY feelings too, and they got ANGRY from another adult.  The small person put big patches of ANGRY on top of their LONELY.  It was hard work to cover over the LONELY feelings.

One day when the small person (who was now not so small) went to school some of their LONELY feelings started to show. So the teacher kept them behind and gave them some GUILT to cover their LONELY feelings.  Sometimes when alone at night the person would look at their feelings. They would pull off the TOUGH and ANGRY and GUILT to look at their LONELY and FEAR.  Then they would have to take a long time putting the TOUGH, ANGRY and GUILT back again.

One night the person noticed that their LONELY and FEAR were growing, and beginning to stick out from under the patches.   So they had to go out to find some more ANGRY to cover the LONELY, and got all the TOUGH that their parents could spare to cover their FEAR.

The person grew older and became very popular because everyone said that they could hide their feelings well.  One day, the person’s parents said that they had a PROUD feeling because the person had been so TOUGH.  But the person could not find anywhere to put the PROUD feeling , because the TOUGH was getting so big. The person had trouble finding room on their sleeve for any other feelings – the TOUGH and the ANGRY were all that showed.

Then after a time the person met another person and they became friends.  They thought that they were a lot alike because they both had only TOUGH and ANGRY feelings that showed.  One day the friend told the person a secret: “I’m not really like you – my TOUGH and ANGRY are only patches to cover over my LONELY and my FEAR.”

The friend pulled back the edge of their TOUGH and showed the person their FEAR – just for a second.

The person sat quietly and did not speak.  Then carefully they too pulled back the edge of their TOUGH and showed their FEAR. The friend saw the LONELY underneath.

Then the friend gently reached out and touched the person’s FEAR …  and then the LONELY…  The friend’s touch was like magic.

A feeling of ACCEPTANCE appeared on the person’s sleeve, and the TOUGH and ANGRY had become smaller.  The person then knew that whenever someone gave them ACCEPTANCE, they would need less TOUGH, and then there would be more room to show PROUD… SAD … LOVING… STRONG… GOOD… WARM… HURT… FEAR…

We would love to know who wrote this – sadly, it wasn’t CMP! 

Biography


Katherine Graham has worked in the field of dispute resolution for over 15 years’ as a mediator and trainer. She has mediated on the BBC Learning Zone and has given keynote speeches on conflict management and mediation for The MOD’s Equal Opportunities Conference, Women in Business Annual conference and “Getting Beyond Conflict”, a national conference on workplace dispute resolution. Katherine joined CMP Resolutions (formerly Conflict Management Plus) in 1992. She was made a director of the company in 1998 and became Managing Director in May 2009. Prior to this she managed teams in publishing and communications departments for major national charities including The Work Foundation, the RNID and the King’s Fund. She was the inaugural Chair of the Institute of Conflict Management.

Publications

Author of The Directory of Mediation Services for Social Landlords (National Housing Federation)

Editor, “Equilibrium” – a quarterly journal of dispute resolution

Co-author Mediation for Managers (NB Books 2002)



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Additional articles by Katherine Graham

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