Alyssa Wermers, LCSW

Play Therapy Services * Firestone, CO

Kisses for pain...kisses for care

Lately I’ve been thinking about emotional energy…how I feel it, where I tend to express it, who I give it to. And who better to explore this through than Gale and Katniss in Mockingjay. My mind travels to the iconic moment in the story when Gale calls Katniss out. They’ve been trudging through destroyed District 12 when Gale has tears in his eyes, and Katniss kisses him.


Gale: I knew you'd kiss me.

Katniss: How?

Gale: Because I'm in pain. That's the only way I get your attention.

This story of emotional attention happens in our lives too. How often do kids want to show us something they made, and we say something like….I’m cooking right now, I’ll look later. And as soon as they get in trouble (often a way of expressing pain or a need for attachment) they have our full attention. We are social beings, and if we aren’t getting the emotional attention we need one way, we will find another. Even if the attention is negative, our biosocial selves tell us it’s better than nothing.

But does it always have to be this way? Do we have to wait until someone is sick, injured, in trouble, before we show them we care? What if we chose to spend some of our emotional energy on the other parts of life too? Disasters and tragedies have a unique way of bringing people back together and they remind us that we need to pay attention to each other. Let’s use this awareness pro-actively. Reach out when you don’t have to, but because you want to. Show your affection not because someone is ill, but because you care, even when they are well. Take the precious moments to truly listen, truly look, truly talk, just because someone wants to share something with you. Celebrate today with those you love…just because you can.