Thursday, January 10, 2008

We choose the way we feel.

Do we???

I mean…I am pretty sure that I could not choose to stop loving my family…or that if something terrible happened to one of my children that I could not CHOOSE to be happy anyway?

Some of the things that *I* feel are beyond MY ability to choose…


Much of what I experience…my moods…my feelings…are my own doing.

It took me a while to get this concept…it’s one of those things that one hears and rejects (because it doesn’t fit in with what I already KNOW to be true)…but


My kids cannot make me feel angry?


But the truth is…no….my children do not have the ability to make me feel angry.

Sometimes…they DO things…and when they do…I choose to get angry.

For example….

Sometimes…my son cannot find something (belt, shoes, etc.) when we are getting ready for school.

On some occasions…when that has occurred…I sigh, roll my eyes…think ‘here we go again’…and maybe make a comment like ‘this isn’t ok…you really have to do better than this’ blah blah blah

But SOMETIMES (maybe we are running late…maybe he has done this three days in a row, or maybe I am simply hormonal) he cannot locate something and I go ballistic.

If he can do the same exact thing…and get two completely different reactions…what is the determining factor?


What’s going on inside of me, more often than not, determines how I respond to any given situation.

I finally ‘got’ this a few months ago.

I realized that…if, for example, my boys do something that makes me angry in the morning before school...(ha! I said it again…’if they make me angry’) that *I* am upset for hours afterward…and worry that they are too…and that they’re having a bad day because of it.

One morning..I mentioned this to them…and one of my sons laughed and said ‘Mom…it doesn’t affect my whole morning…once I’m out of the car, I’m over it.’


HE does something he shouldn’t do.
I get angry.
I might scream or punish him, or whatever.
I am upset for hours.
He goes on about his business….not caring much at all.

Did you GET that?

HE does something he shouldn’t do.
He is fine.
*I* have a rotten day???


If..somehow.. I were able to CHOOSE not to have a rotten day…what would be different?


HE did something he shouldn’t do.
And I punished him…but did not get upset.
He goes about his business…. Not caring much at all.
I go about my business….not caring much at all.

What’s different?

HE does something he shouldn’t do.
He is fine.
*I* am fine.

The only thing that changes…is how I feel…so the question to me is…when my son does something that he shouldn’t do in the morning…do I want to have a rotten day because of it or not?

Of COURSE I don’t want to have a rotten day when I don’t have to.

So how do I not?

It’s about changing the way that I think (a new way of thinking and living).

Let me preface this by saying…I STILL get angry.
Let me also say…I STILL get angry sometimes when it doesn’t make sense to do that to myself and I could probably avoid getting angry.

So that’s my disclaimer…I am human…I am a work in progress…I am not perfect, nor will I ever be… BUT

I am better than I used to be :)

I am therefore HAPPIER than I used to be.

When I begin to feel anger (or anxiety, or fear, or other uncomfortable emotions) I use the serenity prayer:

Can I do anything about this situation?
If so….DO it….


take a deep breath…. Can I calm myself down? Can I relax? Really…HOW BIG IS IT?

Changing the way I’m thinking and living…and smiling more often. xo

You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment. --David D. Burns

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