This Is Us - Your Own Emotions 

In Season 2 Episode 10, Number 2 we get a deeper look into Kate’s life. We find out that Kate has plans to apply to music school and is deeply offended when her mom doens’t realize that music is this important to her. Later the two have a conversation about disappointment. Kate tells Rebecca that she didn’t tell her she was applying because she wouldn’t be able to handle her mom’s disappointment. Rebecca assures her that she wouldn’t personally be disappointed but would just be sad for Kate. While Rebecca wants this to be true I think we have seen proof throughout other episodes that Rebecca puts a lot of pressure on Kate to be the daughter she wants instead of the daughter she actually is. Rebecca wants her to dress a certain way, sing a certain way, and mainly eat a certain way. I think it's obvious that Rebecca tries to control all of these things because she thinks that it is what is best for Kate, but we see now the negative impact that this has had on Kate. Kate hasn’t been able to feel her own emotions because she has been too concerned with how her mom feels. We watch her try to please her mom with what she eats in a day, what she sings in the talent show, and who she is friends with at school. As Kate experiences sadness, she often shows her emotions with Jack and not Rebecca. Because she can tell that Rebecca isn’t confident in Kate being okay, she doesn’t feel as if she can show her mom when she actually isn’t okay. Rebecca misses out on getting to genuinely be there for her daughter because, ironically, she is so concerned with being their for her daughter. Around Rebecca, Kate doesn’t have the space to feel her own emotions. 

In the present day scenes with Kate and Rebecca we see this change, maybe for the first time ever in this relationship. Rebecca comes over simply to be with Kate as she’s mourning her miscarriage. She doen’t try to fix it or offer advice, or make her feel better. She just sits with Kate on the couch and lets her feel. We watch walls fall between Kate and Rebecca as Kate gets to relax, not worry about what her mom is feeling, and feel her own emotions instead of her mom’s. 

It’s easy to slip into Rebecca’s role in different relationships. Instead of giving people the space to have their own emotions we get focused on ourselves. We only think about how the situation impacts us instead of sitting with the person in their own emotions. In doing so we take away the opportunity to be a part of the other person’s healing. There have been so many opportunities for Rebecca to connect with Kate throughout the show. But, Rebecca so desperately wants to connect with Kate that she decides what connecting with Kate will be like without actually consulting Kate. She misses out on knowing her daughter because she is so focused on being the mother she needed growing up. Even if years into her adulthood, it looks like Kate and Rebecca have made a change for the better and this is true for us all. It’s never too late to start listening to someone and making the choice to sit with them in their emotions. 

Thoughts to Consider:

1. How have you taken away others’ opportunity to express their emotions? What would it be like to take your focus off your own emotions so that you could hear someone else’s?

2. In what way have your emotions been ignored? Who are people in your life who you could begin to share your emotions with?