(SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE SUPERPOWER OF SELF-AWARENESS GUIDE)
Every. Single. Day.
Shoes, socks, and shirts are strewn around the living room, dropped at the very point where they were removed, which is no more than 20 feet from the shoe bin or laundry room.
I know you can relate to the frustration!
Every day, I patiently remind him to pick up after himself. Well, most days. Some days, I get a little snippy and tell him his maid doesn’t live here.
I’m a work in progress.
When I saw this scene this morning, I felt the rage rise up, and noticed the resulting thoughts: “Seriously!?! How many times will it take before he gets it? This kid drives me nuts!”
I bet you wouldn’t blame me if I lost it and actually shouted those thoughts at him. Sometimes, it feels like yelling is the only thing that gets him to listen.
But, I didn’t yell.
I didn’t yell, because, in that moment, I recognized that I was at a choice point.
When I became aware of the intense frustration and noticed the thoughts, I had a choice about whether I would react or respond.
Yes, I was triggered by his actions, and the resulting frustration was valid.
AND, I am clear about this truth:
What I do with those feelings and thoughts that get triggered in me is my responsibility, regardless of what my child did or didn’t do that triggered them.
Catching myself at the choice point is no easy feat (can I get an AMEN?).
For many of us who struggle with being triggered, it almost feels impossible to catch ourselves and stop the explosion.
However, with some awareness of why we get triggered, and clarity about how we want to respond, catching ourselves gets easier and easier.
Here is what I am clear about in regards to how I want to respond when my kids do things that are triggering to me:
- I want to respond with kindness, because I want my kids to learn to be kind, even when it’s difficult.
- I want to treat them with dignity, even when they do things that drive me nuts, because I want them to do the same for others.
- I want to practice self-control so that they can see me managing my emotions, rather than see my emotions managing me (which is what reacting is).
- I want to assume the best about their intentions, and remember that I am their teacher of life, helping them to develop skills (like learning to clean up after themselves!).
I don’t always succeed at responding instead of reacting, but I am constantly working to get better at it.
Progress, not perfection.
Are your kids giving you many opportunities to practice catching yourself at the choice point? Perhaps it is your partner or boss who is triggering you, or even the events of the world.
Are you finding yourself reacting more than you would like to?
Take some time to create awareness around what triggers you and clarity about how you want to respond in challenging situations.
You can use a worksheet I created called Superpower of Self-Awareness to help you. Use the form at the bottom of this page to get instant access to it.
Here is the best part: the better you get at catching yourself at the choice point, the easier it is for you to help your children learn to do the same.
Imagine a home where everyone in it is able to respond, rather than react most of the time. Sounds pretty great, wouldn’t you say?
It’s totally possible.
Get the worksheet by filling out the form below, and watch how your increased awareness will empower you to respond when you find yourself at a choice point.
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