Emotion fuels Action
Emotion fuels action. Over the last few months I’ve started to realize the profoundness of this truth and why how we feel about our situation matters so much more than what we’re actually doing. Because you can do something feeling one way or do the same exact thing feeling a different way, and the outcome will be different for you. Let me give you an example.
Over the years our front door has been known to be cluttered with shoes. I’m OK with it but it drives my husband crazy. I would go through spurts of trying to keep on top of it because I knew it was important to him (and we both try to be considerate of each other!). But it always just felt like something else to do ~ like a duty.
A few months ago, while contemplating the kind of wife I want to be as we move into a new phase in our marriage, I was reminded of how grateful I am to be married to my husband, to share the ups-and-downs of life with him, that he truly is my best friend. Remembering this after 27 years of marriage filled me with a great sense of love.
And then I thought about the shoes.
I realized I definitely could commit to keeping only two pairs of shoes by the door because I love him and it’s something simple I can do for my best friend. It’s been four months and now I smile when I put away my extra shoes (instead of roll my eyes, like I used to!).
Putting shoes away out of “love” makes me happy. Doing the same exact thing out of “duty” left me exasperated.
This same principle applies in our parenting of teens and young adults. When my son told me he was removing his name from the records of our Church (essentially un-baptizing himself), fear wanted to take over me. Fortunately, I have enough life experience ~ and enough coaching experience ~ to know reacting from fear would cause me to feel like a failure and nag. Both of these would probably harm my relationship with my son and leave me feeling disconnected from him. This was the opposite of what I wanted so in the moment of him giving me this news, I decided to be understanding. This helped me be curious and listen to his thought process and experiences, to be a safe place for him to share what’s going on for him. It also opened up more conversations between us since then; and although we continue to see things differently, the trust and connection between us is more solid than ever.
Fear vs. curiosity. It’s kind of like the difference between duty and love. Coming from a place of fear usually leads to arguments, people talking but no one’s listening, or sometimes even the silent treatment (all of which are barriers to communication). Coming from a place of curiosity usually leads to understanding (please know, I don’t mean “agreeing”) or sometimes even greater connectedness. This seems like a no-brainer, yet in many moments it’s so easy to react out of fear and then be frustrated that we feel further apart from the one we love when all we really want is to feel like we’re still on the same team.
What emotions usually fuel your actions when it comes to interactions with your teen or young adult? Do they help you act in a way that best serves the situation?
It’s not about everything ending up exactly how you want to; it’s about feeling good with how you show up, no matter the situation. If you’re ready to start acting from a place of love (instead of duty) or from a place of curiosity (instead of fear) but just can’t seem to make the switch, maybe it’s time to schedule a private, one-on-one mini-session with me; I can help you start making the change. Isn’t it time to start taking control of the things you can? Schedule your free mini-session now!