In a triggered moment (a while back), I noticed a quick and yet powerful thought that occured that led to my own reactive behavior. If you blink you’ll miss it.
I played detective. I looked at what behavior of my child’s (or partner’s) put me over the edge. This led me to discover the sneaky subtle belief I was harboring.
Let’s take this one example: My child didn’t comply when I asked him to do something. I asked 3 times. On the 4th time, I yelled angrily. So what happened? It’s just too easy to say that I got frustrated. There is something more there.
To break it down, I asked: What was the message I thought I was receiving from him? How was I seeing the situation?
This is what I saw from him:
– “I am going to ignore you. I’m not going to listen to you,”
Then, I dug deeper still. To get to the meaning, I asked: What kind of person gets ignored? The answer: An unimportant person, a powerless person, a weak person, unappreciated person…that’s who.
So…the thought that I was harboring was something like: “I am powerless, weak, unimportant and unappreciated”. 😲😬
These were my hidden thoughts. If you had a rush of feeling like this, do you think you might become reactive too, trying to defend yourself from these threatening thoughts? Has this ever happened to you?
But, they are just thoughts. Nothing else is threatening you, not your child. If your child does not answer you promptly, it doesn’t mean they are trying to communicate these things to you, or that they have the power to make you feel like this.
By changing how we see something, the response can be different. We can go from, “something bad is happening to me and I have to stop it” to “I wonder what’s going on here and what I could do to address this”
You have a choice. You can choose something different. Is there a situation where you could adopt a more positive belief that would serve you and the situation better?
Here are some helpful beliefs to replace the negative ones that I had be harboring:
Me: “I am safe” “There is no real threat” “I can stay calm”
Child: “He is a child” “He is engaged in what he’s doing” “He is good and kind”
What if I operate from these more positive and accurate beliefs?